Tired of repeating commands, such as ‘sit up straight,’ ‘stop slumping,’ or ‘walk properly‘, in the classroom?! Undoubtedly this will be the case for some of you. While there may be several factors behind poor posture, the most significant factor appears to be badly designed furniture. Improved designs are therefore vital.
What is the BSEN 1729?
The British & European Educational Standard was introduced in December 2006 to ensure that all school furniture is the right shape to provide posture support and strong enough to withstand daily classroom use.
Why is there a new standard?
The results of a survey of over 1500 children revealed that the average size of children had increased. As a result it was found that Furniture sizes also needed to increase.
Is the standard compulsory?
In the UK the standard is currently at an advisory only status.
Do I have to throw my old furniture away?
No. But the new standard should be a consideration when purchasing new tables and chairs.
What are the new sizes?
5 Top Tips for good posture
- Don’t let children ‘grow into chairs’. Using a chair that is too big can be worse than one that is too small. Make sure the thigh length of the seat is less than theirs. If the seat is too long their calves will press against the seat front. This restricts circulation and levers the small of the back away from the back of the chair. Concentration will deteriorate rapidly due to this type of discomfort.
- Whenever possible, make sure that they have a good footrest while sitting down. The erecting muscles of the spine are reflex triggered by sensors in the feet. Without foot contact the spine has to rely more on conscious control and what child can be bothered to think about sitting properly?
- Make sure the chair positions them correctly to their work surface – the height of their elbow, when sat upright with arms relaxed, should be at table height.
- Don’t let them carry a heavy weight on one side – a rucksack is better than a bag.
- Lead by example – encourage your class by having good posture yourself!