A survey of acoustic conditions and noise levels in secondary school classrooms in England

Bridget Shield, Robert Conetta, Julie Dockrell, Daniel Connolly, Trevor Cox, Charlie Mydlarz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    An acoustic survey of secondary schools in England has been undertaken. Room acoustic parame- ters and background noise levels were measured in 185 unoccupied spaces in 13 schools to provide information on the typical acoustic environment of secondary schools. The unoccupied acoustic and noise data were correlated with various physical characteristics of the spaces. Room height and the amount of glazing were related to the unoccupied reverberation time and therefore need to be controlled to reduce reverberation to suitable levels for teaching and learning. Further analysis of the unoccupied data showed that the introduction of legislation relating to school acoustics in England and Wales in 2003 approximately doubled the number of school spaces complying with current standards. Noise levels were also measured during 274 lessons to examine typical levels generated during teaching activities in secondary schools and to investigate the influence of acous- tic design on working noise levels in the classroom. Comparison of unoccupied and occupied data showed that unoccupied acoustic conditions affect the noise levels occurring during lessons. They were also related to the time spent in disruption to the lessons (e.g., students talking or shouting) and so may also have an impact upon student behavior in the classroom.
    VC 2015 Acoustical Society of America. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4904528]
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-188
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2015


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