Teacher comforts

16th May 2008 at 01:00
Your report ("Small desks are a pain in the back for pupils", TES, May 9) highlights an important issue
Your report ("Small desks are a pain in the back for pupils", TES, May 9) highlights an important issue. School furniture is a neglected aspect of education provision. Ensuring that workers have a properly set up workstation is a health and safety obligation for employers, but pupils seemingly do not come under any sort of protective legislation.

But spare a thought also for people like me, a 6ft, 15st teacher trainer, who regularly visits schools, from secondary laboratories with bottom-numbing stools to primary classrooms with muscle-cramping Year 3-sized chairs and desks.

I try to convince my trainees that there is a qualified teacher status standard (number 34) that they will fail if I don't get a proper chair from which to observe their teaching. Sadly, their copy of the standards only specifies 33, so they rarely fall for this.

James D Williams, Lecturer in science education, University of Sussex.

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