High quality research conducted over the last twenty-five
years suggests a handful of simple measures that can be
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
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.
• With a slope of 10°-20° most people will
have a perfect posture for writing and
• And what’s more the book and papers
would be almost at right angles to the line
• 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
• 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
• So height adjustable chairs and tables
would fit the bill perfectly
• 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
Choosing Tables and Chairs
Recommended BS EN1729
Please ask for a
sample chair or
for a consultant
to call and check
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 orcomfortably.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.
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
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
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EN1729 Size: 1 2 3 4 5 6