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How to Buy Seating for your School

March 28, 2019, 10:46 GMT+1
Read in 3 minutes
  • Choosing the right seating be tricky, particularly on a tight budget. John Healey, YPO’s category buyer for furniture, highlights a few areas to consider before placing those orders…
How to Buy Seating for your School

Start from scratch

One of the biggest deciding factors when selecting classroom furniture is whether to buy new, make do or repair. Many schools will be extremely wary of repairing broken chairs in case the repaired item fails at some point in future, potentially causing injury.

Given the relatively low cost (typically below £15) of quality classroom chairs, ordering a new chair would be preferable to using repaired chairs. Before ordering, make sure you’ve obtained the correct size information.

Classroom chairs come in six sizes, generally ordered by the measurement from the floor to the seat height – but people come in all different shapes and sizes, of course.

It’s therefore important to make sure every child in the class will be provided for, since one size may not fit all. Always check when buying chairs that they conform to the British Standard BS EN 1729.

Try one-piece chairs

Schools have traditionally tended to buy classic polypropylene two-piece chairs, which consist of a shell seat and a metal or plastic frame. These types of chairs generally come with a guarantee of three to five years.

An alternative to this approach is the polypropylene one-piece chair design, which is much stronger and requires little in the way of maintenance. One-piece polypropylene chairs have the further benefit of being anti-tilt, which can be helpful for those children who have a tendency to rock back and forth in their places.

One-piece chairs can also be specified with seat pads, which are often purchased as an add-on for chairs that will be used by teachers or TAs which aim to replicate those used in the rest of the classroom. These chairs are typically guaranteed for up to 21 years and are currently very popular, due to their price and durability.

Consistent and modern

When deciding on which type of classroom chairs to purchase for your school, try to maintain consistency across different areas of the building, since chairs can be liable to ‘walk themselves’ into other classrooms.

Consider using the same colour scheme across all the classrooms within your school – there will usually be the option to buy smaller or larger chairs in the same colour scheme, making them suitable for all year groups.

It’s also worth considering the growing popularity of modular furniture, which can be positioned in multiple ways to create focal points where children can connect, collaborate and concentrate.

At the same time, some staff rooms and reception areas are now being used as wellbeing spaces, which the furniture industry has responded to by offering a wider choice of designs that feature sleek lines and a greater emphasis on comfort.

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