So we’ve got a name for our campaign on acoustics – Sounds Good? – what else have we been up to? Here’s a brief run down:
1) My boss attended a conference in Manchester on building schools which apparently turned out to be a great networking opportunity with various local authority officials, designers and builders. Worryingly, my boss met quite a few builders who said that opt out from the Government standards on acoustics are widespread.
2) We managed to get the story covered in leading education newspaper the Times Educational Supplement.
3) We submitted a response to a limited Government review on the standards for schools that builders are *supposed* to be following.
4) We had a meeting with officials at the Department for Children, Schools and Families to talk about the scope for taking action on acoustics. The meeting was reasonably positive – but Ministers would need to get involved to push things forward.
5) And on that note, we have formally written to the Minister responsible for new school buildings, Jim Knight (the one that does all the typos), to set out our concerns and ask for a meeting. We’re hoping he’ll agree.
The more research we do, the more we get more worried about what is actually happening on the ground. For example, we’re getting a lot of feedback that school builders and educationalists are going gung-ho for open plan teaching areas – even though there has been no real consideration of how to ensure high quality acoustics in such settings.
A case of new policy ideas being pushed forward without a consideration of how the needs of children with special educational needs can be met? I feel a sense of deja-vu…
Our campaign is now moving to developing the logistics of our plans to engage with the media some more and with MPs. We have a few interesting ideas that we’ll be following up – so, as always, watch this space.