The main focus was to minimise the negative effects of noise on learning within classrooms and key areas of this refurbished school, originally built in 1856, in order to create an ideal environment for pupils to achieve their full learning potential, and teachers to enjoy reduced stress levels.

The challenge was to engineer the acoustics within classrooms and key areas in order to achieve reduced reverberation times and improved levels of speech intelligibility. This would create a learning environment where pupils could hear and understand the teachers, levels of reflected background noise were reduced, and lower levels of general noise throughout the school would encourage improvements in pupil behaviour and a more controlled approach to learning.

The solution was to provide new lay-in-grid suspended ceilings in the school's classrooms and multi-use main hall, with British Gypsum's acoustic ceilings. These unique tiles, identical in surface appearance, provide alternatively high levels of either sound absorbance or sound reflectance, and can therefore be used to engineer the acoustics of a space. They were installed in a pattern determined by the special BPB-developed Intel-6 computer programme, based on data of room dimensions, finishes etc.

Testing carried out after installation showed that speech intelligibility in classrooms, measured on the Rapid Speech Transmission (RASTI) scale, improved from <0.3 (reflecting 50%, or 'very poor' performance), to an average of 0.81 giving 99% or 'excellent' intelligibility. In the main hall, with its high windows and unusual roof detailing, the ceiling system also achieved an unoccupied mid-frequency reverberation time of 1.06 seconds, countering the effects of the hard reflective surface and walls. The results were comfortably within the levels laid down by DfEE for acoustic performance in school buildings.

Find out more

About acoustic ceilings

Submit Comment