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Free school gets £2.4m extension and refurbishment

Knauf AMF's acoustic know-how creates calm learning spaces at Essa Primary School

Posted by Stephanie Broad | November 27, 2015 | Supplier News

Knauf AMF ceilings and Heradesign wall panels were specified to provide acoustic control and visual appeal for a new free school in Bolton.

Essa Primary School is a £2.4 million project which involved extending and refurbishing an existing building. The combination of old and new buildings posed some unusual installation challenges, as Mick Hegarty from Quartus Construction explains: “The installation was not straight forward because the ceilings are at different angles. Knauf AMF recommended products and provided advice on how to fit them. The finished ceilings looks great. I always use Knauf AMF when I can, I find they’re better than the alternatives.”

Long reverberation times are a problem in schools, particularly classrooms, where the noise level can build up making it difficult for teachers and children to understand one another. Installing acoustic ceilings and wall panels in the classrooms will reduce reverberation and increase speech intelligibility. Heradesign wall panels and Thermatex Antaris ceilings offer the highest Class A sound absorption to control reverberation, and high sound attenuation to reduce the amount of unwanted noise in the classroom, creating calmer, more productive spaces for learning.

Heradesign was also chosen for its aesthetic qualities. The school particularly liked that the wall panels could be colour matched to their emblem and make an attractive feature in the classrooms. Heradesign offers designers freedom to choose the colour finish they want because the panels can be matched to almost any colour including those from popular systems such as RAL, NCS or StoColor. Heradesign is manufactured from wood-wool and designed to be robust and offer high impact resistance making them ideal for a classroom. The panels were fitted directly onto the classroom walls using battens, making the installation quick and simple.

In addition to its Class A sound absorption, the white surface of Thermatex Antaris ceiling tiles provide light reflection of over 80%. The ceiling reflects light coming in from outside back into the classroom, creating spaces with lots of natural light and low glare, and helps reduce energy bills. The ceiling can be fitted using either a concealed or exposed grid system.

The school’s corridors can be very noisy areas. The sound of voices and footsteps on the hard floor can transfer through the walls into the neighbouring classrooms. Thermatex Acoustic ceiling tiles are installed in all the corridors and provide exceptional sound attenuation with insulation to prevent sound transferring through adjoining walls and causing a disturbance in other spaces.

Knauf AMF has an impressive track record of working in the education sector. Their team are on hand to provide advice with specifications and building regulations. For more information, visit or email    

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