A growing problem for schools

Schools still have a lot to learn when it comes to choosing the furniture for their classrooms. Very few invest in the sort of ergonomic seating that could provide developing bodies with a degree of protection against future problems.

But that could all be about to change with the introduction of new EU guidelines which lay down specific standards which all schools will be advised to meet. This includes ergonomically-shaped chairs to guard against damage to children’s backs.

A Furniture Industry Research Association study, carried out last year as part of a European-wide project, found that youngsters have, on average, grown three centimetres taller than the last time a similar survey was carried out in 1971. They’re also fatter than they used to be.

As a result, up to an inch has been added to the recommended dimensions of tables and chairs in the new EU guidelines on school furniture. The new standard also backs the introduction of height-adjustable tables to provide extra leg room to fit longer limbs.

FIRA’s Levent Caglar said: “It means children can concentrate better, are less likely to fidget, are not distracted and behave much better. It has implications for pupils and teachers, and is better for children not just physically but also in terms of their learning abilities.”