When an education exhibition is held only once every two years attending is very important. The NOT show in Utrecht, Holland is probably one of the best education shows in Europe and certainly the finest for school furniture. Holland has always been a very strong market for Gratnells with our trays loved by teachers across the country.

Thanks for taking me out to dinner, Eric.

News on the market this upcoming year is tricky. Few furniture manufacturers were predicting an increase in sales, all were just hoping for a flat year. This appears to be the theme across Europe.

Board-cum-cupboard-cum-tray storage thingy!

On a positive note for Gratnells, in 2011 the prestigious Neinhuis Montessori company will be using Gratnells trays in all its furniture. There will be more about this in the spring. Off to Nurnberg for the Toyfair!

Sneak peek of Neinhuis Montessori furniture.

Gratnells trays reaches heights other trays can’t reach

Less than ten pupils!

BBC’s Countryfile programme yesterday (Sunday) featured Flash Village Church of England Primary School. The school is situated high up in the Staffordshire Moorlands, standing 1,518 feet above sea level, making it the highest school in the UK. With just seven pupils aged between 4 and 11, the school consists of two classrooms and a library.

The classic red shallow tray.

But even this small, remote and isolated location didn’t stop the school from choosing Gratnells trays, as you can see from this programme still.

This proves, once again, that when it comes to tray storage, it’s got to be Gratnells. After all, it is the height of quality and value!

Nienhuis Montessori converts to Gratnells trays

The perfect storage

One of the highlights of the show was the example of a perfect Montessori classroom built in the centre of the exhibition. The set was constructed by a leading Dutch supplier Nienhuis who have chosen the Gratnells tray as the best tray in early learning. Local children from Basle were brought in every day and used the set for real. They must have been thrilled to get their hands on a Gratnells tray at last!

Ooooh! - tray close up

Colour Swatch – the most difficult print project in the world?

One of the most common questions we get is ‘Can you describe what your green tray looks like. How green is it?’ Answering a question like that on the phone is nigh on impossible. It’s sort of grass green but that depends on which grass you have in your garden. The web gives a good approximation but print a sheet from a standard colour laser and it is never quite right. It was time to develop an accurate colour swatch of all our tray colours. Nice idea, but I can assure you that is easier said than done. It was the 24 carat nightmare. The trays needed to be matched to CMYK charts and RAL charts and HEX charts and any other charts those clever print people have invented. It took months. We needed wet copies and dry copies and spot varnishes and bleeds and fades and cuts and rivets .. it just went on. However, at last it’s finished and we have beautiful colour swatches for all. They are free so please ask for one. Just don’t throw it away. I’ve sweated blood over those. They should be lovingly placed on your desk and stroked once an hour…because they’re worth it.

Free for all

Boost for suppliers into the nursery market

The UK nursery sector will be strengthened by the news that the coalition government has confirmed that the entitlement to free childcare for three- and four-year-olds will continue. The Education Secretary Michael Gove has gone further saying it will be increased to 15 hours a week and that childcare would also be extended to the 20,000 of the country’s most disadvantaged two-year-olds. For suppliers into this market this is surely an indication that demand will hold up. This coincides with the release of a new survey into future resourcing for nurseries conducted by BESA the UK trade body for suppliers to education. It makes interesting reading noting that nurseries are most likely to prioritise a greater range of resources than schools with learning toys at the top of the list. Instead of buying at a particular time of year, 81% said purchasing happened at any time. For suppliers this means that the traditional autumn glut can be smoothed out throughout the year.

Gratnells heads for the dictionary

Gratnells has found a place in the English language…well, nearly. According to research we’ve conducted, many school teachers when cleaning their classrooms or science areas say that they are ‘Gratnelling’ rather than tidying up. Apparently, ‘Gratnelling’ refers to the whole process of ensuring things are stored away properly, in their rightful place. Have you done your ‘Gratnelling’ today?