Cluttered corridors have always been a problem for primary schools. Pegs will often get overloaded with coats, rucksacks, book bags and lunch boxes, and it won’t take much for said items to end up on the floor.
Teachers often tell us that one of their pet hates is having to pick coats and bags off the floor and identify who they belong to. More than that, there are safety concerns at play here too, with schools having failed fire audits due to inadequate room for escape in an emergency. So what’s the answer?
Lockers are a solution that’s worth considering, since they’ll certainly make things tidier and help eliminate most of the above problems – but it’s worth knowing a few things going in.
When measuring for a set of new lockers, make sure you check that any pipework or radiators won’t prevent stop you from fixing your lockers to the wall, and that any nearby light switches or vents won’t be covered up. If your walls have skirting boards or coving, you’ll need to either mount the lockers on stands with the rear legs inset, or fix them to the wall with timber batons.
Alternatively, ask your locker supplier to come and measure up for you – any decent supplier should be prepared to do so free of charge.
It’s important to order lockers that are the correct height for each key stage, and which have enough capacity to store everything the children bring to school. The lockers you order should be robust enough to cope with a school environment; those that feature welded, rather than riveted frames are best, since they’re able to resist impact damage much more effectively. We’d additionally recommend that your locker units have easy turn handles, rather than locks and keys, as younger children will be more likely to misplace keys.
Many primary schools were never originally designed to take lockers, with the result that their corridors often seem at first too narrow to accommodate them. After working with hundreds of schools, however, we’ve found that a depth option of 380mm allows for ample storage capacity without taking up too much corridor space.
If, like us, you think primary lockers should be fun, why not specify your lockers in multiple colours? This shouldn’t involve any extra costs from a reputable supplier.
We’d further advise going for three-compartment locker units – these offer ideal amounts of space, and 10 units will suit a class of 30 perfectly (with the option to add units if your class sizes increase).
Of course, a degree of ongoing maintenance is essential for keeping your lockers looking their best. We’d recommend carrying out checks every three months, ensuring that handles are tight and spraying hinges with WD40 or similar. Doors can be cleaned with a damp cloth and a non-abrasive cleaning agent. Damaged doors can easily be replaced by drilling out door rivets and replacing them.
Lake Chamberlen is a project specialist at Lockertek – the first company to design and build a locker specifically tailored for use in primary settings.