St Matthews School in Bolton gets the Sonata Treatment

Class A Sound Absorption Panels

Sonata Vario Absorbers and Memo Noticeboards

Excessive reverberation within multi-purpose school halls can cause a variety of problems for both staff and pupils alike.  For many schools lunchtimes present the highest noise levels as large number of pupils get together to eat their meals and share the morning’s experiences.  Despite good behaviour on the part of the children, with no especially raised voices, the reverberation builds due to the high number of acoustically reflective surfaces present within such spaces.

St. Matthews Church of England Primary School in Halliwell, Bolton had experienced the problems described above within their hall and school Business Manager Joan Saunders approached acoustic experts Sound Reduction Systems Ltd (SRS) for a solution.  As the School was local to SRS, Director Richard Sherwood was able to carry out a site survey the same day and quickly produce a report detailing the necessary acoustic treatment and a breakdown of the costs involved.  Richard recommended SRS’s range of tried and tested Class A Sonata acoustic absorbers to solve the acoustic problem.

Richard Comments: “The most practical way of introducing acoustic absorption within the school hall was to use Sonata Vario panels suspended below the roof profile and at high level on the walls as well as replacing existing noticeboards with Sonata Memo panels to introduce some low level absorption.”

Following discussions with the manufacturer of the roof profile it was discovered that it wouldn’t be possible to use the standard Sonata Vario suspension fixing to secure the panels as this would require penetration into the roof.  To overcome this problem SRS’s specialist installer instead ran Uni-strut channels between the roof purlins and secured the ceiling Sonata Vario panels to these.

In total SRS supplied and installed 44no 1200x1000x50mm Sonata Vario panels in ‘Chrome’ fabric and 11no 1200x1000x50mm Sonata Memo Noticeboards within the hall, reducing the mid-frequency reverberation time (Tmf) from 4.5s to 1.5s and achieving a much improved acoustic balance

Feedback from the school has been excellent and the improvement has been noticed by staff and pupils alike.  Business manager Joan Saunders comments:

"The installation of the Sonata acoustics panels has made a huge difference to the sound levels in our new hall.  We have 180 children in at each lunchtime sitting and they are now able to chat with each other without the noise levels becoming unmanageable. 

Teachers also find it much easier to teach their PE and Music lessons in the hall.

A fantastic result which met all our needs. Thank you Richard and Sound Reduction, a brilliant job!!"

SRS are specialists in school acoustics and offer free advice, site visits, and quotes to any school with a reverberation problem.  If you would like to read about our work the please read the project profiles and testimonials from satisfied schools on our website Blog here: If your school has a noise problem and you would like to arrange a free visit, please get in touch on 01204 380074 or email

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