Page last updated at 00:13 GMT, Friday, 2 January 2009

Teachers sound school bell fears

The SSTA has warned bells that signal the end of class could be too loud

School bells which ring too loudly could be damaging the hearing of pupils and staff, a teaching union has warned.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (SSTA) claimed some schools were buying one very loud bell, instead of several smaller ones, to save money.

It said while infrequent exposure was acceptable, repetitive and prolonged ringing could be harmful.

Jim Docherty, SSTA's acting general secretary, said new schools were among the worst offenders.

He said: "Schools build under PPP/PFI arrangements are worse than many older schools. There has been a consistent failure to carry out adequate risk assessments, as required by the Health and Safety at Work act, in many schools.

"Quite simply many of these schools have been built on a 'minimum cost' basis."

Mr Docherty called on local councils to address the issue.

He said: "School authorities must recognise these concerns where they are expressed and act accordingly before the hearing of staff and students is damaged.

"The result will inevitably be legal action against the authorities."

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