If you have been tasked with ordering your school or college’s new furniture, stop and take a minute to think about these 10 considerations for teachers needing educational furniture. Whether you are a headmaster, campus manager or teacher charged with choosing and sourcing new furniture; consider these factors first.
In short here are 10 things to consider:
Stimulation Of Pupils
Comfort And Ergonomic Features
Consider Your Environmental Requirements (Or Opportunities)
Consider Recycled Options
Explore Budget Options
Flexibility And Ease Of Movement
Ease Of Procurement
We will explain them in more depth below, but if you want to dive in and start choosing your new furniture for classrooms and offices in your building, you can access our free guide and checklist by pressing the blue button here:
Here is some further explanation of what needs to be considered when purchasing educational furniture.
1. Stimulation Of Pupils
Make sure you choose furniture which can form a part of your strategy to keep pupils stimulated and engaged. Whilst you may long for a sleek, modern and minimalist classroom which is tidy and impressive to look at; of course, educational stimulation is king.
You need to be able to use your furniture to add to your informative and engaging wall displays.
It needs to make resources and tools immediately accessible and welcoming.
Your furniture should also keep your pupils and students switched on and tuned in to the lesson at hand. And that is where ergonomic design plays a huge part…
2. Comfort And Ergonomic Features
It’s vital that you find the right balance of comfort and support in your furniture. We strongly advise investing in the most ergonomically sound table and chair combinations that your budget will permit.
It will stop students from suffering from painful and very distracting back ache. This study extensively looks into the benefits of proper ergonomics in classroom furniture and seating, specifically. The physical wellbeing of your pupils is a fundamental part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which can be undermined with improper furniture.
It will be impossible to achieve maximum results in teaching and learning if this is the case. And, remember, what seems the most comfortable to students – adjustable, slouch friendly chairs, most probably – are detrimental in the long run. A well designed chair is always best.
3. Consider Your Environmental Requirements (Or Opportunities)
Choosing products which are sustainably produced and sourced is an important consideration. Especially when balanced against your needs to meet national and local authority sustainability goals. For example, it might be better, in the grand scheme of things, to source slightly more expensive, more locally produced furniture than cheaper imports from the other side of the world or from a foreign supplier.
And this, also, could mean purchasing recycled and refurbished furniture…
4. Consider Recycled Options
Lots of furniture is replaced before its actual shelf life is reached. This furniture, if returned to the right supplier, can be serviced, refurbished and made as good as new. This offers sustainability green points for your school or college and can often work out cheaper than purchasing brand new furniture.
5. Explore Budget Options Carefully
This is a double edged sword and needs proper thought and consideration.
On the one hand, it might be tempting to choose the most budget friendly option in terms of up front cost. And this can often be fine, when cared for and used properly. However, some budget furniture options are designed to be less durable and longlasting as a means of A. reducing up front purchase costs to the consumer and B. being fit for a shorter term, temporary or light use scenario.
This could result in creating a false economy, because said furniture would have to be replaced much sooner than planned.
On the other hand, this doesn’t mean you should choose the most expensive furniture, that is actually completely over designed and over engineered for your own particular needs.
When supplying our business clients with furniture, we have often come across Managing Directors who have the biggest, most expensive chairs in the office – yet they’re completely over engineered and wasteful because said Director spends 75% of their time out of the office. But it consumes a sizeable chunk of the furniture budget.
Find the right balance between amount and type of use of your intended furniture items and the associated purchase cost. Speak to an employee from your furniture supplier if you need any advice.
Your furniture could take a lot of robust use, no matter the age of your pupils and students. Boisterous teenagers or carefree infants put furniture through extreme use.
Even the most conscientious body of students will put your furniture through robust use simply due to moving in and out of their seats throught the day. And this is before you factor in those students who cannot help but lean back onto two legs, no matter how many times you tell them they’ll fall back and bang their head.
Whilst educational furniture is designed for instances like this, there is a limit and different items are designed to cope to different levels. Make sure your furniture is fit for purpose.
7. Maintenance Complexities
Otherwise you will find that your maintenance staff are working on your furniture with increasing frequency. If your caretakers and facilities team are the only ones capable of maintaining and repairing your furniture due to the level of work required, it will hamper productivity until the issue is resolved. An item of furniture could be out of use or need careful use; both of which will slow things down.
8. Cleaning Ease
The material and finish of your furniture, as well as the overally design, can impact the ease of cleaning. This is important for a range of reasons.
Cleaning time may be paid for on an hourly rate – if furniture is time consuming or difficult to clean, either bills will go up or cleanliness will have to suffer.
Secondly, if the latter resolution ends up coming into fruition, then working practice can be hampered or habits of uncleanliness can creep in. Which will harm the learning process and holistic development of younger pupils.
Read more about classroom layouts here.
9. Flexibility And Ease Of Movement
From the point of view of the teacher, it’s important to make the changing and tweaking of layouts as easy as possible. Lightweight, adaptable furniture means that you and your fellow teaching colleagues don’t face any resistance to trying new layouts or quickly altering the setup of a classroom to try a new teaching style or technique.
Though it may sound small on the face of it, all teachers will understand how the ability to quickly and effortlessly alter and tweak the furniture in their classroom can inject dynamic life into their teaching. It also encourages experimentation and daring practices in order to maximise student progress.
10. Ease Of Procurement
On a drier level, don’t forget to consider the longer term implications of what you order. Your budget might only facilitate ordering partial amounts of certain products in one academic year, for example, with the plan been to order the rest in the following financial year.
If so, make sure that the items ordered are of a product line which is unlikely to go out of production (speak to your supplier) or is of a style which is neutral enough to be complimented by others designs should production be ceased.
Need A Clear Checklist?
If you have considered all of these factors and feel like you need something to help you decide exactly what you need, we have put together a general furniture checklist which you can use to plan what kind of furniture you need for your staff. It also has handy checklists where you can keep important information and make sure you don’t miss a single thing. Press the button to get your free copy now.