Even though the Government is aiming to build or refurbish thousands of new schools, it has done very little to survey schools for their listening environments. It was always a bit of stumbling block for NDCS’s campaign. Although we had lots of parents and professionals telling us about their own experiences of new classrooms with poor acoustics and a wide range of other organisations supporting NDCS’s campaign, we found it hard to demonstrate that schools with poor acoustics were just one-off examples.
Well, no longer. We did a survey of local authorities in which we knew a new school has been built in that area since 2003. We got 38 usable replies. Of those, only 21% could confirm to us that the acoustics in the schools in their area met the government’s standards.
The rest couldn’t confirm because the schools in their area a) hadn’t been tested or b) had done a test but failed it. In fact, where testing took place, over half of local authorities had schools that failed it.
All of this now means that I can go around using the term “damning evidence” with wild abandon like a Daily Mail journalist. We think this damning evidence makes for compelling evidence for the central ask of our campaign – that all new school buildings should be required by law to be tested for their acoustics. A fail means they should not be allowed to open. This damning evidence should also result in the Government making sure it monitors the quality of acoustics in schools. Small charities like NDCS shouldn’t have to pay of it.
Along with the event, the hope is that this damning evidence bring us closer to the moment where the Government just gets on with it.