THE head of a school under the Heathrow flight path has questioned new research that found aircraft noise led to poorer reading performance among children. Marian Brooks, of Cranford community college in Hounslow, west London, said socio-economic factors had more influence than aircraft noise alone. Funding for the research would have been better spent on double-glazing for affected schools she argued. Researchers from the University of London's Queen Mary College looked at children in 10 schools with high noise levels and 10 with lower levels. They found that noise exposure was associated with poorer reading performance, but only on "difficult items". There was no correlation with noise and poorer performance on memory, attention span or overall reading score.