Do school children need bigger chairs?

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It has been asked by School Leaders, if school furniture designed in the 60s, is too small for today’s learners.

Some experts have said, that Schools need to upgrade their furniture, to meet the needs and size of today’s children.

There is also a much larger variation in the size of school children. This could mean that furniture needs to be redesigned, to meet a wider range of shapes and sizes, or that schools will need to source more intelligent, modern furniture.

A report from the British Educational Suppliers Association, backed by the former education secretary Charles Clarke, sets out the changing needs of schools.

The report warns that schools are creating a generation of children, who may suffer back problems. Therefore, furniture needs to be adapted appropriately.

Dominic Savage, director general of the Besa, said children are significantly taller now but that childhood obesity also contributed to the need for more ergonomic furniture in schools.

He also said: “Although our starting point was not a question of obesity, when we looked, it is very much that the average child today is very different to a child in the 1960s, which is the last time children were actually measured for determining measures of furniture.”

BESA noted that a study of 1,500 children found “significant” variation in pupil sizes.

The report concludes, “Not only were children generally taller than their peers in the 1960s, but the range of heights in any age cohort was far greater. Crucially, another change was evident. The ratios of body to leg and arm lengths were different, meaning that accepted relative heights of chairs and tables were inappropriate,”

“All of this data supported the belief that our children are likely to be spending thousands of hours of their school lives on chairs and at desks and tables where their posture is poor and the potential for damage to backs is great.”

The report has called on the government to advise all schools to adopt a new standard of sizing, to meet the needs of todays learners. One option could be adjustable furniture, so that children can lower or raise their chairs, to make sure they are sitting comfortably.

See our range of height adjustable tables


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