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.

Swipe-tastic!

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 – http://blog.gratnellstrade.co.uk)

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.

Going Dutch – NOT 2011

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 www.nienhuis.com 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

Forty winks and a burger for KM?

We were glad to welcome KM Furniture and their delivery lorry today when they popped into the Wickes store opposite the Gratnells Harlow factory. After what must have been an exhausting morning delivering their popular chairs to the local schools, a break was obviously required. The driver looked very relaxed when we found him and we hope he had enough energy to get back to KM HQ in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
If you are passing by don’t feel you have to use the local burger van – coffee and croissants are always available here at the home of trays.

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?

www.gratnells.com