We were pleased to see our local school Passmores Academy featuring on Channel 4’s Educating Essex last week. For those who didn’t see the programme, Passmores is a comprehensive school in Harlow, Essex – just down the road from us here in Gratnells HQ. The school has just been awarded Academy status and is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and has actually moved into a brand new state-of-the-art building since filming the programme.

The TV series follows a group of GCSE students, and the staff who teach them, as they face the most important year in their education using cameras around the school. And while everyone else was following the plot we were playing ‘Spot the Gratnells tray’.  As you do!

5 page essay outline



Learning Rooms Lifts Off

The first module of our new Learning Rooms project for teachers is now available to subscribers.  Learning Room is Gratnells new project which aims to give primary school teachers a useful resource to create the best possible learning environment in the classroom.  Together with educational expert Roger Cole we will be producing a whole series of workbooks and audio recordings.  The first workbook has just been sent to subscribers and looks at how well the classroom is currently set for the functions that a teacher would want to perform in it with their class and how they can improve upon this.

You can download a copy of the pdf here or see a whizzy online flippy version here

Visit the Learning Rooms site for more information


Otis feels the quality

Cyan is my favourite colour

Good looking, handsome, talented and that’s just the tray!  Fantastic photo of young Otis was sent to us by Sandra of Monarch Furniture, one of the leading suppliers of school furniture in the UK. Otis was the star of a recent photo-shoot showcasing the company’s latest products, which are always some of the most imaginative and best designed around.  Expect to see more of Otis and Cyan trays in years to come.

Gratnells helps Galt celebrate 175 years

Exclusive products
It seems amazing that Galt has been providing quality, innovative educational resources to the market place for 175 years. To mark the date we got together with the Galt team to produce a one-offer brochure with a set of exclusive products with some very strange pricing. Everything costs either £1.75, £17.50 or £175. To do this we had to make some serious price cuts to try and shoehorn the products in. Have a look at what we did.

Levitating trays

While our new Quadrant tray already popular with wooden furniture manufacturers we have also developed a special bracket that allows them to be well-mounted in a classroom. The bracket is invisible when the tray is inserted giving a nice floating tray effect.  Perfect for using in awkward corners.



Wall mounted bracket for the new Quadrant tray
Wall mounted bracket for the new Quadrant tray



Stylish rounded furniture

We are really pleased to see a new furniture range from Cumbria based Twoey Toys.  They are one of the first UK school furniture manufacturers to produce a range featuring our new Q2 quadrant tray.  I saw some concept furniture at the Toy Show and now there is a whole range available which looks really stylish and practical.  Have a look at the full range on their website

Are you sitting comfortably?
Boys love train sets
Stylish unit with rounded ends


Fishy tale

Just add chips.

When we asked for new uses of a Gratnells tray I was certainly not expecting this.  Richard Ellis from J.T.Ellis & Co Ltd, one of the country’s leading school furniture manufacturers, has decided that fish storage is the way forward. Pictured is a very tasty looking bass which Richard caught off the south Devon coast over Easter. There also appears to be a couple of mackerel in there too.  He tells me the bass was a solid 5lb, with no word of the one that got away! Keep those uses coming.

The big question answered and it’s not 42.

We all know Gratnells trays are the number one selling educational tray in the world, but why?  To help explain we have launched our Learning Rooms project.  For the rest of the year we will be explaining in detail how school furniture and storage impacts on learning. You don’t have to believe me personally, we have enlisted a proper expert called Roger Cole to do the explaining. There is nothing he does not know about rearranging a classroom.  Hold tight and keep coming back for more.


We are now iPad friendly!  So if you like this blog and have an iPad, you can check out our  fancy new iPad version. (It’s the same url –

Musings from the Education show in Birmingham.

Jo sitting comfortably.

The Education Show in Birmingham is always a busy time with new products to be launched and gossip to be exchanged. It was great to see Jo Miller of Twoey Toys with one of the first showings of our new Quadrant tray. An excellent new corner unit was put on display which is bound to be popular. On the Ed Show ‘fringe’ Mark Barnett, the boss of The Consortium, was there to give his now annual speech to suppliers to the industry. It’s refreshing that such an important catalogue makes a concerted effort to get its message across. Behind the scenes the top staff at The Consortium had been trying to buy the ailing Devon catalogue, which closed in January, with no success.

Another theme at the show was the growing popularity of outdoor leaning at schools. Norseman Direct had a fantastic stand with half the contents of a garden centre. Their ‘instant’ gardens look to be a hit in 2011 and it’s worth visiting their website.

More thoughts to come.