Following Sir Alan Steer's report last month confirming a link between the built environment and pupil behaviour, we believe that high quality acoustics in schools are vital for children to be able to listen and learn effectively in the classroom. They are especially important for children with special educational needs, such as those with hearing or visual impairments or with communication difficulties.
Teachers deserve to work in classrooms where they can be heard. It is alarming that they are more likely to experience problems with their voice than many other professions.
Yet despite this, acoustics are being treated as a low priority in many areas, resulting in some new classrooms being built that are hostile listening environments.
It is not ethical to place a child in a school in which they are unable to learn. That is why we call on the Government to treat acoustics as a greater priority, with a new requirement for pre-completion acoustic testing, an audit of new schools and greater monitoring.
The Government has committed itself to inclusion and equality for disabled children. If schools don't sound good, we will fail to meet this goal.
Sue Archbold, Chief executive, Ear Foundation; Richard Brook, Chief executive, Sense; Roz Commins, Founder, Voice Care Network UK; Susan Daniels, Chief executive, the National Deaf Children's Society; Paul Ennals, Chief executive, NCB; Lord Hanningfield, Leader of Essex County Council; Brian Lamb, Director of advocacy and policy, RNID; Chris Keates, General secretary, NASUWT; Barbara Waters, Chief executive, Skill.