So, just to recap on NDCS’s Sounds good? campaign for better acoustics in schools in England, Baroness Wilkins has joined NDCS in calling for a change to the law on acoustics. NDCS has been calling for all new school buildings to be tested for their acoustics before they open, to ensure there are incentives in the system for everyone involved in building a new school to make sure the school doesn’t just look good, but sounds good too. After all, what is the point of spending millions on a school if it’s too noisy inside to learn? And so Baroness Wilkins has proposed a change to the law – or an “amendment” that does just that – makes acoustic testing a legal requirement.
The Government is resisting the amendment. They say the case for action is unproven, even though we’ve shown that currently lots of schools are not being tested and those that are, are failing the tests. Even though independent research shows acoustics benefit all children, not just deaf children and help teachers manage behaviour in the classroom. Even though the cost of an acoustics test is peanuts, compared to the cost of fixing rubbish acoustics. Even though over 15 diverse organisations agree that urgent action is needed. Even though after months of consideration, hardly any voices of objection have been raised by builders.
I feel like the only people who don’t want to take action is Government. It feels like things are stuck in a bureaucratic inertia by people who care more about processes than taking action that will make a real difference. We want to get the law changed now to stop the scandal of new schools being built with rubbish acoustics as I type. Not in some indeterminate future after “further investigation” and “careful consideration” where things fall into a governmental black hole and never reappear.
If you agree that urgent action is needed now, then contact the Children’s Minister for England, Baroness Morgan. She’ll be representing the Government when the amendment is debated in the House of Lords. It’s being debated on October 19th, so we need lots of people to get writing asap to show how much people want this change. We need your voices to be louder than those of the nay-sayers.
As always, our website makes it quick and easy for you to do this. Just fill in a few details about yourself and your email is off within around 3 minutes. 100 people have taken action already so you’re in good company.
If you’re still unconvinced, then watch the BBC 2 programme See Hear and listen to the deaf teenagers explain why good acoustics are so important to them. At the end of the day, it is deaf children who will benefit most from this.