Sunday, 12 October 2008

Seating - space conscious but.....

The chairs above are very thin,colourful and when stacked don't take take much space - but are they comfortable?
The whole issue of FF&E in schools is one that is, at last, being increasingly recognised as being as important as building design, ICT resources and so on. For far too long the furniture and fixtures have been not given any where near enough attention.
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As we build more and more new schools, finally clear innovative and exciting strategies for FF&E are now being considered. There are people really thinking carefully about what is the most appropriate furniture for a variety of learning styles, including new designs, and then establishing how it can be sourced cost effectively.

For too long schools have expected students to sit all day on economy priced chairs that are the wrong size, wrong height, or just plain inappropriate. I always despair when listening to teachers after a staff meeting or professional day when they have had to sit on these chairs for an hour and then get up moaning, stretching or talking about how uncomfortable they are. And yet they don't seem to think about the students who sit on them all day.
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Equally, many times I have heard students ask why teachers get comfortable chairs and they don't - good question really.
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Seeing the chairs in the photo above, they are very thin, are colourful, look good and a lot can stack in a small space.... but are they really appropriate for students to sit on for long periods of time? I sat on them - ergonomic that are not, comfortable maybe briefly, but all day?
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Decent furniture can be expensive, obviously careful sourcing strategies are needed to ensure some value. But if we expect students (and staff) to work well and effectively, we have to give them the tools to encourage them to be able to do it!
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