There are worries that new schools look good but have poor acoustics
The acoustics of new schools will have to be improved after warnings that showcase open-plan designs make it difficult for children to hear.
In particular there are concerns that children with hearing problems could be missing out on lessons.
The government has now announced tougher rules for acoustics before approval will be given for new schools.
It follows complaints from the National Deaf Children's Society that some new schools had poor acoustics.
There have been concerns that new school designs with open spaces and less formal classroom structures might look impressive, but create practical problems with noise.
Children's Minister Baroness Morgan has announced measures to ensure that acoustics have to be more carefully considered in the design of new schools - and that funding will depend on passing acoustic tests.
"Good acoustics are essential to a successful learning environment for all children, particularly for those with special hearing requirements," she says.
The National Deaf Children's Society has been warning about "modern designs" in newly-built schools causing problems for children with hearing problems.
"Open-plan teaching spaces have been pushed through without consideration of how to ensure high quality acoustics," the charity says.
A report commissioned by the charity had talked to teachers in four new schools and found between a quarter and two fifths had found problems with acoustics.
The charity quotes the parent of a deaf child who found that their new school had no doors to its classrooms, which made noise a constant problem.
As well as introducing tougher acoustic rules for new school buildings, the minister is telling local authorities that the most recently funded schools will need to comply to acoustic standards.
The government is also writing to advise all schools of the importance of acoustics, particularly for children with impaired hearing.