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classroom furniture

4

classroom furniture

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The Solution

High quality research conducted over the last twenty-five

years suggests a handful of simple measures that can be

implemented.

The most important are shown below and involve the

redesign of our classroom furniture.

EN1729 Approved Classroom

Posture Regulations EN1729

Ergonomists, physiotherapists and health specialists agree

that good posture is not just the key to skeletal and

muscular health, but also a stimulus for concentration.

This increased awareness has led to the new European

Standard EN1729 being created to set out dimensions for

school furniture based on size marks and extra heights for

improved posture.

Height compliant furniture has the benefit of increased

pupil satisfaction and likely improved educational

outcomes over time.

Aware of the fact that between the ages of 5 and 16

children are likely to spend around 15,000 hours sitting

down, we have embraced this legislation ensuring that

nearly all of our furniture is height compliant to EN1729.

Some furniture ranges, shown below, comply not only with

the height aspects of EN1729 but also recommendationa

as to seat shape and design to remove pressure points,

lumbar support, back dimensions etc.

Some of these ranges also offer height adjustability

ensuring that every individual can work in complete

comfort and providing ultimate flexibility in the classroom.

Sloping Tabletops

• With a slope of 10°-20° most people will

have a perfect posture for writing and

reading

• And what’s more the book and papers

would be almost at right angles to the line

of vision

Higher Chairs

• We seem to have been making chairs

lower and lower to achieve the perfect

right angle between body and spine at a

time when pupils have been growing taller

and taller

• The lower the seat, the worse the angle of

sitting.The rule of thumb is that chairs

should be at least one third of our body

height

• So height adjustable chairs and tables

would fit the bill perfectly

Higher Tables

• When you lean forward to write, your

elbow should be in contact with the

surface of the table

• For most of us, that means having

tabletops up to 20 or 30cm higher than

they are in most conventional furniture

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3

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Choosing Tables and Chairs

Recommended BS EN1729

Not sure?

Please ask for a

sample chair or

for a consultant

to call and check

your heights.

Current School Furniture

In most of our schools, current best practice is to encourage children to sit in the most upright position they can manage (the ‘right angles’ position).

To help us to “sit up straight” school furniture is designed with flat or backward sloping seats with vertical backs.

Now think what happens when we begin to read or write. In the upright position you’re nowhere near close enough to the book or papers on the flat

desk to read or write efficiently or

comfortably.To

do that, you have to bring head and book closer together. How do you do it? By bending the upper

part of your body and forcing the head and neck down.And there’s how you’ll stay until the reading or writing is completed.

What’s happening is that our bodies are being forced into an uncomfortable and harmful position.

The back problems caused by such an unnatural and unhealthy sitting position don’t tend to appear until the ages of 13-16 and worsen in the years after

we have left school.

Research shows that the most significant cause of lower back pain in children and adolescents is inappropriate furniture at school and in the home.

Poor seating also greatly reduces concentration levels.

The Problems

This page is taken from a publication by the Back Care charity and is supported by detailed and approved research.

The ‘Right Angles’ sitting position

• Principally, the right-angled sitting position is a backwards-

inclined resting position.

• Eyes are a long way from the book. So you have to bend

your neck into an unnatural position to see properly.

• And the right-angled sitting position loads both the hip

joints and the lumbar region in extreme positions.

• It’s neither a natural nor a comfortable way to sit for any

length of time.

Working from the ‘Right Angles’ position

• As soon as you have to begin reading or writing, your eyes

need bringing closer to the work you are doing.

• To do so, you bend the lumbar region.The bending tends

to be localized in the 3rd,4th and 5th discs, because the

rest of the back is pretty inflexible.

• Even with a limited bend, muscles, joints and ligaments are

overstretched and the back begins to round.

• There’s also backwards pressure on the lower discs.And

to make things more awkward, the extreme flexing of the

neck is a very tiring position to hold for any length of

time.

Potentially harmful

position

Potentially harmful

position

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Ask for a consultant visit for advice on our range of Posture and EN1729 recommended furniture, sample chairs are

available on many ranges “try before you buy”.

Table & Chair Heights

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Table

height

Chair

height

Feet colour

orange violet

yellow

red green blue

EN1729 Size: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Pupil age:

260mm

310mm

350mm 380mm

430mm 460mm

530mm

590mm

640mm

710mm

760mm

460mm