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Cheap and nasty furniture

If shoddy classrooms are a scandal (TES, January 21), then school furniture is a disgrace. I am amazed that despite all the directives about health and safety "86 per cent of UK school furniture is unfit for use and contributes to early onset of back problems" (The Times, December 7, 2004).

Only recently has one UK firm started selling ergonomic furniture specifically designed for schools. Most UK firms do not even bother to follow the simple EU directive of making it adjustable to a student's height - they simply design cheap furniture "downsized" to ageheight standards.

This disgraceful problem will continue as long as school heads and their governors, because of budgets and other reasons, such as non-holistic management, limit themselves to cheap replacements of damaged items.

The health and behavioural benefits of good furniture for the children are obvious: less pressure on the spine, better posture, better leg circulation, breathing and digestion which produce better handwriting, promote better concentration and greater self-esteem.

This is what children are entitled to and this is what they should get if education and educational resources are to be a government priority.

Raymond Van den Brandt 5 Hazell Road Farnham, Surrey

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