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Aled Roberts AM calls for “Fair Hearing” in Wales’ classrooms

March 8, 2012 11:32 AM

Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Aled Roberts led a Short Debate on improving acoustics in classrooms in the Senedd on Wednesday. The debate seeks to highlight the difficulties that school children with a hearing loss face when trying to follow their teacher in a classroom with poor acoustics, and calls for more robust legislation to ensure that in future all new classrooms are built to comply with acoustic standards.

Commenting, Aled Roberts AM said:

"Good acoustics in schools are essential for all children - and their teachers - but for children who have a hearing loss they are absolutely essential.

"Currently, all new builds under the 21st Century Schools programme will need to reach a minimum acoustic standard, but there is no obligation to undertake what is called a "pre-completion compliance test". This means that by the time they are finished, many buildings will not have been subject to a mandatory technical check to make sure that the minimum standard has been reached.

"In addition, nurseries and colleges currently fall outside the regulations and this is something I would like to see changed.

"The National Deaf Children's Society has done a wonderful job in highlighting these problems and it was encouraging to see excellent cross-party support at their recent event in the Assembly marking their campaign, Let's Make a New Year's Resolution that Sounds Good!

"The Welsh Government gained the power to change Building Regulations on 31 December 2011. We now need the Government to use these new powers in a positive way to extend the commitment it has already shown to good acoustics.

"Placing a compulsory requirement on building authorities to demonstrate compliance with acoustic standards is the only way that we can ensure all new school buildings in the future will sound good."