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  • Animated image for Facilities Management Facilities Management

    Essential services to help keep your school running smoothly.

  • Ingredients and cooking pans Food and Catering

    Everything you need for your school meals and catering requirements.

  • person working at a desk Furniture

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  • certificate and books Professional Services

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school exercise books varied colours
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Ruled paper exercise books for a range of subjects.
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Here are a few tips on creating an inclusive classroom that suits all children's individual needs. 

 

1. Table positioning is key

Rather than positioning tables in rows, grouping them together is much better to encourage discussion and communication in group work. If the groups become too noisy, think about smaller groups of three or four and group any pupil that tends to be disruptive with more engaged and focused pupils. Smaller grouped tables can also help encourage shy pupils to interact.

Seating plans are helpful so pupils can be positioned based on their needs. For example, pupils with dyslexia may benefit from sitting near the front, whereas pupils who suffer from stress or anxiety might prefer to sit towards the back or near a wall. 

We suggest using round tables when purchasing dining room furniture, which helps inclusion. That way, no one gets stuck sitting at a table's end. Or even better, consider a mix of round and rectangular tables.

 

2. Clear space = clear mind

Ensure you have access to all parts of the classroom to join a table for group discussion if necessary. Also, make sure you have clear visibility and that the students can see you. Clear walkways and space behind seats allow easy access around the room.

Include clear visual supports around the classroom or instructions on the board that help prompt discussion. However, only a few, as this could be distracting. Visual support can also apply to Secondary schools too, where it is often overlooked.

 

3. Colours matter

If the classroom is too busy with a mixture of bright colours, it can distract some children and hinder their learning potential. A classroom with single-coloured tones, such as royal blue tables, chairs, storage and carpets, can also have adverse effects as all the colours blend into one. However, natural and wooden furniture in single tones work as these are neutral colours and furniture of the same colour, but different shades add a visual contrast which encourages focus. 

 

4. Make sure you can adjust it!

Including height-adjustable furniture in at least one subject science and technology classroom (laboratory, food technology room etc.) is important. Height-adjustable tables and furniture can be used by all pupils but should be prioritised for pupils with disabilities.

It is worth considering incorporating a height-adjustable sink, hob, technology bench and table with gas and electric points for practical work. These tables are usually positioned near the front of the classroom so the teacher can be on hand to help. These tables should be as fully integrated into the classroom as possible rather than set apart or marked with a different colour to help with inclusivity. 

 

5. Don't forget the little ones

For the younger children, consider a 'time out' or quiet space for them to sit on their own and calm down if needed. You could include a bean bag or soft mat in a calming colour, away from the play area. Using a soft seat shows a designated spot for sitting but is not seen as a punishment.

 

The takeaway

Make the classroom an inviting and inclusive place that the children are proud to use and want to be there. Furniture should be clean and unbroken, it's essential to replace broken furniture as soon as possible as damaged chairs and tables can be harmful, i.e. fingers trapped in damaged table edging etc. 

Think about the different furniture specifications and the best option for the children in school. A unified colour scheme and style throughout the school stops classrooms from accumulating a mismatch of furniture. Older schools can sometimes have old built-in storage that is no longer used or efficient. Removing and replacing this furniture with mobile units makes the classrooms more extensive and flexible.  

 

 

Need help with choosing school furniture? Are you looking to design a new space and need help figuring out where to start? Why not get in touch with our expert furniture and design team for a free consultation to see how we can help you transform your interior spaces? 

 

Contact the team >> [email protected]

Find out more about our Furniture and Design service >> https://www.ypo.co.uk/design-service

YPO 50
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The YPO Team

YPO supplies products and services to a wide range of customers including schools, local authorities, charities, emergency services, public sector and other businesses such as nurseries and care homes. YPO are 100% publicly owned, by 13 local authorities, which means the profits made are returned to public sector customers, delivering even better value for money.