Today we decided to see if you could build a reasonable Christmas tree out of Gratnells trays.  After a few failed starts and enlisting the help of our resident consulting engineer we managed to build something resembling a tree from green Jumbo F3 trays.  With some tinsel and baubles you’d hardly know it wasn’t plucked from a forest!  Now it has pride of place outside our Director’s box in the factory. Pictures show me and Marketing Director Richard Picking next to the tree and Marketing Coordinator Emily adding some final touches.




Gratnells takes the stage!

We’re delighted to announce the launch of Gratnells Stage. This is a new venture for us into the portable staging marketplace.  With the help of leading industrial staging designer Antony Hill we have launched a new modular staging system for schools, church halls, public spaces and anywhere that might need an easy to assemble stage.


Gratnells stage is very high quality and versatile.  It’s easy to assemble and demount, anti slip, and is designed to be quiet unlike similar products.

You can find out more information over on



Gratnells supports Safer Internet Day

We are backing a campaign to help youngsters keep safe on the internet through their donation of a set of books and teaching resources to Fordham CoE Primary School to coincide with Safer Internet Day (SID) which was celebrated on 10th February this year.

The set of classroom books, supported by colourful posters and other teaching materials called ‘Caught in the Web’ are produced by The Police Community Clubs of Great Britain and feature woodland characters Barney Eagle and Echo the squirrel.

Developed to support parents and teachers in addressing personal, social and health education (PSHE) at key stage 1-2, the books and materials discuss some of the potential dangers surrounding children using the internet use and how these can be avoided.

‘Our Y6’s are deepening their awareness of internet safety and developing ways to teach others in the school. This resource has come at an ideal time to re-address important messages for all children as they grow up and into a progressively technological world,’ said Carole Etchie, Acting Headteacher who received the books on behalf of the school.

We visited the school to present the books to staff and Year 6 pupils at Fordham Primary. Gratnells has been at the centre of education for almost 40 years, and has championed better learning through supporting teachers with free resources of various kinds. So we were delighted to be able to donate these excellent books, which as well as providing vital information to children also raise the awareness to parents through the promotion of Safer Internet Day.’



Safer Internet Day (SID): is organised by Insafe in February of each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people across the world.


Safer Internet Day 2015 was celebrated on Tuesday 10 February 2015, with the strapline, once again, of “Let’s create a better internet together” following the success of last year’s campaign.


A smashing time at the ASE Conference

Igniting the imagination

Gratnells was delighted to sponsor CBBC’s Fran Scott for a lively hour-long CPD presentation on the final day of the annual ASE (Association for Science Education) Conference held at Reading University on 10th January. Speaking to a capacity audience, Fran ‘ignited the imagination’ of over a hundred science teachers who had come along to translate her style of making science more engaging to students within the classroom setting.

A smashing time was had by all!
A smashing time was had by all!

After the presentation, Pete Robinson, immediate past Chair of the ASE said of Gratnells sponsorship of the event: “It is pleasing that there are companies like Gratnells … We’re looking for opportunities to work in partnership with our corporate partners such as Gratnells. And Gratnells went off and did this virtually completely on their own – with our support – and they came to us with the idea. And how lovely, what a great way to engage people with science teaching and learning. A really fantastic story, and what was so great about the story, was not the we got a ‘science show’ – we can go anywhere to get a science show – we got the thinking behind that science show.”

You will be able to see the full video on the Gratnells website in the next two weeks. You can also learn more about Fran Scott and her new roadshow ‘#Error404’ at:



Times article on Wooden Furnitiure Manufacturer, Ambic

Although this article ran a while ago in the Times we have only just spotted it.  It’s a very interesting article about School Furniture Manufacturer Ambic Ltd who were facing problems with cash flow as their business is very seasonally biased to the summer holidays (as is ours).  Schools place orders at the end of the school year and then want their new products delivered in time for the new term in September. So additional resources need to be employed to meet the temporarily heightened demand. Ambic used a funding circle instead of a more traditional expensive bank overdraft to raise the funds for increased production.  An inspiring story and you can read the full article here 

It could almost be a Gratnells picture!
It could almost be a Gratnells picture!

Boys will be boys

More Gratnells trays spotted on TV! We were (as always) delighted to spot some Gratnells Trays in a classroom in Channel 4’s Mr Drew’s School for Boys. The trays were the background to a fair amount of fighting and swearing as the programme showed Mr Drew (former star of Educating Essex) trying to improve the behaviour of a group of unruly 11 year old boys.


Gratnells Ltd cannot accept any liabiblty for injuries sustained in the vicinity of our products!
Gratnells Ltd cannot accept any liabiblty for injuries sustained in the vicinity of our products!

“Boys aged 12 and under are now almost six times more likely than girls to be kicked out of school, while 90% of young offenders were previously excluded from school.

Inspirational headteacher Stephen Drew from Educating Essex wants to help 11 boys whose behaviour is threatening their future by enrolling them – and their parents – in a residential summer school like no other. Mr Drew has been dealing with challenging boys and their parents for 15 years, but with the families living on site, this is a first.

With his crack team of behaviour expert Tracey Campbell and inspirational teachers Dominic Volante, Lindsay Skinner, Mark Grist and Ben Vidler, can Mr Drew get the boys to unlock their true potential before it’s too late?

And can their parents confront their sons’ behaviour and face up to their own shortcomings?”

The programme was shown on Channel 4 earlier this year and more information and clips can be found on the Ch4 website.


A-Level Project

Recently we were approached by Josie Cowperthwaite – an A Level student at Bullers Wood Girls School in Chislehurst, Kent – to help with her Design and Technology project. We were happy to send her a selection of trays for the Early Years storage unit she was planning to design.

Josie’s finished item is a spinning storage unit which holds a selection of Gratnells trays along with a mirror, a clock, a whiteboard and a magnetic panel. It’s a fantastic little product and maybe we will see Josie in the industry as a rising star in the next few years!



At the Toy Fair

So this week finds me at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg. It’s been a whirlwind of exhibitions this month, first the ASE Conference, then BETT where we launched our new SmartCase and Computer Club trolley and now the Toy Fair. This one is a huge show – it’s Europe’s biggest toy trade exhibition running from 29 January to 03 February 2014.  Our stand this year is offering a sneak trade preview of our new primary school modular range.  These are early prototypes of a new range. All will be revealed in good time!


Further information on the Toy Fair can be found on their site.

Announcing the NEW N3 Jumbo Tray!

We are pleased to announce a new tray in our N Range. The N3 Jumbo tray is the latest addition to this range, sitting alongside the N1 Shallow tray and the N2 Deep tray.

Our N range of trays has been specially designed to fit in school furniture that is 400mm deep (a size found mostly in Europe, not the UK). Now with the addition of the N3 Jumbo tray, furniture manufacturers and catalogue retailers will be able to offer a wider variety of storage options and offer storage for larger items too. This tray size will be most popular in preschools and primary schools.

You can download a product sheet with technical information from the trade section of our website.


  • The N3 is available in colours to match the other N trays – Flame Red, Royal Blue, Grass Green, Sunshine Yellow and Translucent.
  • As with all Gratnells products – guaranteed for five years
  • Made from polyproplene and fully recyclable
  • Height – 300mm
  • Width – 312mm
  • Length – 377mm
  • Code – N3