State Primary School of 2021 Introduces EIGER Standing Desks to their Classrooms
Spend time in any classroom and a phrase you are likely to hear is ‘sit down’ - but that’s not the case at one forward-thinking primary school in Tower Hamlets.
Pupils at Mayflower Primary School are being encouraged to explore what works best for them, when it comes to how they complete their learning. This includes having access to a range of different desks, seating options and workspaces, which they can use as they wish.
Standing desks are one addition that has proved very popular. Rather than needing to remain seated for traditional sedentary tasks, such as handwriting, the standing desks allow the children to stand and move while they learn. They have been provided by UK company, I Want A Standing Desk, which was the first in the country to design such desks specifically for children.
More than 500 primary schools across the UK are currently using standing desks, with teaching staff recording improvements in behaviour, concentration and engagement levels, as well as neater handwriting and increased productivity.
For Mayflower Primary School, which is rated Outstanding and was also named State Primary School of the Year 2021, the desks are a vital tool for aiding engagement and inclusion.
Heba Al-Jayoosi, Assistant Head (Inclusion), explains: “We’re always keen to try anything that might support us in meeting the sensory needs of different learners in our school.
“We already knew that some children preferred to stand, while others were constant movers, so when an occupational therapist recommended we look into standing desks, we decided to arrange a free trial. It proved so successful that we’ve since introduced standing desks in every classroom.”
Heba continued: “It’s no secret that children need to move and expecting them to sit on the carpet or at desks for prolonged periods of time can make them at best distracted, at worst disruptive. But do they really need to sit still at all during their learning? If they wobble, bounce, lean, rock or stand do they learn any less? That’s certainly not been our experience.
“Giving children a choice about how and where they learn and the opportunity to explore what works best for them, has had a hugely positive impact. In the case of the standing desks, it has been transformational, helping pupils to maintain attention and boosting their energy levels.”
Nick White, founder of I Want A Standing Desk, commented: “It’s wonderful to be working with such a progressive and forward-thinking school as Mayflower Primary. For some pupils, such as those with additional needs, sitting still can be a real struggle and our desks can really help. But having the choice to stand up can positively impact on all pupils in a classroom, which is something we consistently hear from schools.”
Nick added: “Childhood obesity is also on the rise and with sedentariness increasing as a result of the pandemic, the more we can encourage children to get up and out of their seats, the better. Plus, no child was born to sit still. They’re simply not programmed that way!”
Led by Heba Al-Jayoosi, through a Churchill Fellowship grant, Mayflower school is designing and leading on a research project looking at flexible seating in schools and its impact for those with autism. The results of the study - which is the first of its kind in a mainstream UK school - will be revealed later this year.