Internal and external noise surveys have been carried out around schools in London, UK, to provide information on typical levels and sources to which children are exposed while at school. Noise levels were measured outside 142 schools, in areas away from flight paths into major airports. Here 86% of the schools surveyed were exposed to noise from road traffic, the average external noise level outside a school being 57 dB LAeq. Detailed internal noise surveys have been carried out in 140 classrooms in 16 schools, together with classroom observations. It was found that noise levels inside classrooms depend upon the activities in which the children are engaged, with a difference of 20 dB LAeq between the “quietest” and “noisiest” activities. The average background noise level in classrooms exceeds the level recommended in current standards. The number of children in the classroom was found to affect noise levels. External noise influenced internal noise levels only when children were engaged in the quietest classroom activities. The effects of the age of the school buildings and types of window upon internal noise were examined but results were inconclusive.

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