Things are moving quickly in our campaign work around acoustics. Last week, NDCS did two things to hammer home to the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) that this is a big issue for us.
Firstly, we managed to get acoustics mentioned in a meeting by an influential bunch of MPs. The Children, Schools and Families Select Committee is a bunch of backbencher MPs whose job it is to scrutinise the work of DCSF and generally make a fuss when DCSF mess things up. Last Wednesday, the Committee was taking a look at how the Government is getting on with its pledge to build lots of new secondary schools (known as Building Schools for the Future) and had brought various experts and a DCSF Minister along to fire some questions at them.
We’ve spent the last few months meeting with various MPs on the Select Committee to talk about our campaign work. When we found out about this particular Select Committee meeting, we sent them a briefing note on our concerns – like the fact there’s no requirement to test a new school building for its acoustics after it’s been built or that Government standards on acoustics are less stringent about the requirements for open plan teaching spaces in classrooms. So we were really pleased when two MPs – John Heppell and Graham Stuart – flagged up our concerns and helped up put acoustics on the agenda.
Secondly, I mentioned before how DCSF are doing a limited review of the Government standard on acoustics. On Friday, we sent in our response to it, setting out our concerns in detail for the first time to the Government.
These are positive moves – but still just first steps only. Our next steps: 1) think about more ways in which to get people’s attention about acoustics and get it on the agenda and 2) meet with officials at DCSF to find out what their response to our asks on acoustics are. So keep watching this space.
You can read NDCS’s briefing to the Select Committee and our response to the review by going to NDCS’s news story on this. Great to have your thoughts and suggestions so let us know what you think.