The importance of classroom acoustics in SEN schools

Creating good classroom acoustics is essential for all students, but it holds even greater significance for those with special educational needs (SEN). Ensuring effective acoustics in all learning environments is necessary for fostering an atmosphere where every child can thrive and reach their full potential.

The importance of classroom acoustics in SEN schools

SEN pupils can be sensitive listeners, particularly children with autism where extra sensitivity to sounds can cause emotional reactions. In ‘Acoustics of Schools: a design guide’ published by the Institute of Acoustics, there are a range of special hearing requirements that need to be considered when designing SEN classrooms. These can include hearing impairments, speech, language and communication difficulties and auditory processing disorders. The importance of good classroom acoustics is further reinforced in the performance standards set out in Building Bulletin 93 (BB93).

BB93 Standards for SEN Classrooms

BB93, published in 2015, set out new performance standards for schools in England and Wales to achieve improved acoustic design standards for SEN classrooms. It states:

“Pupils with special educational needs are generally even more sensitive to the acoustic environment than others. Consequently, required reverberation times are shorter, sound insulation between adjacent spaces is higher and indoor ambient noise levels (and the capacity for distraction) lower than in environments for other pupils. This is reflected in the tables contained within this document.

“Pupils with hearing impairment, autism and other special needs are often very sensitive to specific types of noise, particularly those with strong tonal, impulsive or intermittent characteristics. This should be taken into consideration in the design of areas which may be used by such children.”

The need for the correct noise levels, controlled reverberation and a conductive auditory environment is therefore vital for a sound learning environment.

Zentia’s Solutions for Inclusive Learning Environments

The correct soundproofing and absorption are vital when it comes to designing classrooms in order to control reverberation and reduce sound transmission. Architects and designers can use materials to their advantage, such as acoustic suspended ceiling systems that can absorb more acoustic energy.

Zentia has a range of effective ceiling tiles to help design SEN schools effectively:

  • Oplia – With six different products offering a variety of different sound absorption and sound attenuation properties, the Oplia family of ceiling tiles delivers ideal acoustics in any space. The Oplia family provides the highest level of sound absorption and attenuation in our product range.
  • Sonify – The Sonify range not only provides a solution that effectively absorbs sound, but it is available in a large range of shapes and colours, offering architects the ability to create unique and exciting designs whilst hitting acoustic criteria for SEN students.
  • Prestige – The Prestige family offers everything from Class C to Class A sound absorption. Combined with impressive sound attenuation, the Prestige family of ceiling tiles helps manage ambient noise levels in larger, open plan spaces.
  • Aruba – Aruba is an extremely versatile range, with a sound performance that can control background noise level, while still allowing sound to travel, making it ideal for creating comfortable acoustic environments across a variety of spaces. For areas requiring enhanced acoustic performance, Aruba dB offers sound attenuation levels of 39dB.

For education to be truly inclusive, every detail matters. By prioritising acoustic design, SEN schools can be environments where every student can thrive. At Zentia, we believe that sound spaces can shape futures, which is why we offer a number of solutions that enable SEN schools to nurture the potential of every child.

Previously known as Dune eVo

The Aruba Family

A versatile range of acoustic ceiling tiles designed to meet every project requirement. Make a design statement without compromising performance. Think flexibility, think Aruba.

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Ideal acoustics in any space

The Oplia Family

With six different products, the Oplia Family delivers ideal acoustics, in any space. Improving audio in and in between spaces, with the highest level of sound absorption and attenuation in our range.

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Ultimate in flexibility

The Prestige Family

With Prestige, you can specify suspended ceilings that are practical, playful, and refined. Our most flexible and durable suspended ceiling range, the Prestige Family includes our brightest white shade.

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