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Size really matters when choosing the right fitted furniture for schools

Schools are natural dynamic environments where students and teachers thrive on interaction, collaboration, and a sense of belonging – and it can be proven - that good fitted furniture plays a crucial role in helping to create this positive learning environment, writes Tony Huggins, managing director of David Bailey Furniture Systems.

school room with taps and desks

However, with a variety of options available, choosing the right fitted furniture and modular storage solutions can feel overwhelming with several key considerations needed by teaching professionals when selecting what’s best for a school environment – even down to giving particular focus on addressing potential ergonomic issues such as inappropriate furniture height.

This is frequently overlooked, but it is a particularly important issue when choosing the right fitted furniture. Traditional, "one-size-fits-all" can lead to ergonomic issues, particularly for students and teachers of different heights – and should be a major consideration.

Imagine a child struggling to reach a countertop in a science lab, or a teacher experiencing back pain from a desk that's too low. These are just two of the examples of how incorrect furniture height can hinder learning and well-being. This is why we advocate the need for ergonomic fitted furniture solutions that are adjustable or come in various height options to cater to the diverse challenges of a school population.

So, what should teaching professionals be looking for when choosing the right fitted furniture? Firstly, consider the age range of students and teachers who will be using the fitted furniture. Younger children naturally require lower furniture heights compared to teenagers or adults.

The type of activity associated with the fitted furniture also plays a crucial role. In comparison to a primary school, science labs in secondary schools might require higher worktops for taller students conducting experiments, while collaborative learning spaces might benefit from adjustable tables that can be raised or lowered depending on the task at hand.

Because schools are dynamic environments with evolving needs, we always advise that schools should opt for storage solutions that can be easily adjusted or reconfigured to accommodate future changes in curriculum, class sizes, or teaching styles. Modular storage systems, for example, which are available via our Toprail Range, offer a high degree of flexibility, allowing schools to adapt learning spaces as needed.

Schools also require ample storage space for books, equipment, and learning materials. Integrated storage solutions within fitted furniture can maximise the use of space and promote better organisation, creating a clutter-free and conducive learning environment.

Manufacturers like us are also aware that school furniture endures daily wear and tear, so teaching professionals should always choose fitted furniture made from robust materials such as high-quality laminates and engineered hinges and handles, that can ensure longevity and withstand active use.

The look and feel of the fitted furniture can also significantly impact the learning environment, which is why we at David Bailey Furniture offer a variety of finishes and colour options to create a visually appealing and stimulating space that fosters creativity and engagement.

As we have already demonstrated earlier in this article, the right ergonomics are crucial, but fitted furniture and modular storage solutions also deliver the basics to ensure a more efficient classroom environment.

Good fitted furniture clearly allows for the more efficient use of space, optimising available square footage for learning activities. Well-designed and flexible storage solutions also give teaching staff more time to streamline daily routines in classrooms and admin areas.

Longer term, robust fitted furniture can also deliver reduced maintenance costs. When you choose cupboards and worktops made from durable, high-quality materials you are effectively ensuring furniture longevity. When choosing flexible storage solutions from Toprail you are effectively securing the long-term future of any classroom, department, area, or storage facility due to Toprail’s comprehensive offering. 

With more than 40 years of experience in the education sector David Bailey Furniture is used to working with schools to create ideal learning spaces and can even provide you with a free site survey, if you are located within 100 miles of our Kent based factory.

Our team of experts will work closely with you to understand your specific needs, assess your space, and design a customised fitted furniture solution that optimises ergonomics, promotes learning, offers flexibility, and reflects your school's unique identity.

In summing up, experience has shown us that choosing the right fitted furniture and storage solutions can be a minefield. Who would have thought that "Working at Height", for example would be a major consideration – and that, as we have shown - is just the start of the process.

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JUNE 2024


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