Educating the East End

We’re enjoying the latest ‘Educating’ Series. Educating the East End follows the day to day challenges of Jenny Smith and her staff at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow.  As always we spend as much time spotting Gratnells trays in the background as we do watching the stories unfold.

Starring Gratnells Trays!
Starring Gratnells Trays!


You can find more information about the show here.

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!

Gearing up for Worlddidac

We are heading into a busy time here at Gratnells HQ – not least gearing up for the biannual challenge that is our Worlddidac stand.  Plans are afoot and we are having a double stand where we will be showcasing our new SmartCase and Callero junior range. Hopefully you will be familiar with these two launches already:


  • Callero is a range of stylish classroom storage specially designed for early years and junior education. This modular storage solution boasts a whole range of storage and shelving units. Callero’s sleek new design and colour scheme gives any classroom a modern, stylish look.
  • The SmartCase is our newest addition to the tray family – but it isn’t just a tray, it’s also a carry case. The answer to super-tough storage on the go, SmartCase is designed to safely store and transport all kinds of classroom items, from tablets and laptops to data logging equipment and school kits.


As with previous years we are offering our customers a free ticket to Worlddidac – and we are running a competition on our stand. This year we giving away a brand new Kindle Paperwhite in our on-stand competition. And you could be the lucky winner! Most of you will be receiving a letter or an email this week with more details but if not please do email me for a free ticket or more information.   You can find more information at


I’ve already posted you a voucher which gives you a free ticket to Worlddidac Basel when you register online. The show runs in Basel, Swizerland from October 29 to 31 So please join me on the Gratnells stands D100 and D105. I look forward to seeing you there.



Gratnells joins the Made in Britain initiative

We are pleased to have signed up to the Made in Britain initiative.

Research has shown that many UK consumers want to buy British made goods –  but are confused about the origin of products sold in stores. In January 2011 cooker manufacturer Stoves commissioned independent market research which showed that half of those surveyed admitted confusion about which brands could still claim to be made in Britain, with international takeovers and moves towards Far Eastern production all contributing to an increasingly puzzled landscape. Two-thirds wanted an official seal of approval to show products made in Britain, while half thought British brands should bring manufacturing back to the UK. More than a third of those questioned stated they would actively buy British goods if it was easier to identify authentic made in Britain products.

In July 2011 and companies making products in the UK were invited to apply to use the logo and in November 2012 a committee was formed to oversee the marque and assist with the ongoing promotion of the campaign. In June 2013 the committee commissioned design agency The Partners to re-design the logo and establish a membership scheme for users of the logo.




Any UK based manufacturer who would like to use the marque can apply at the Made in Britain Campaign website. Applicants will go through a verification process to confirm that their products are made in the UK and then will pay a small membership fee to be able to use the marque.

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!



How to make classroom furniture look amazing

I was pleased to meet Johan van Ballekom recently at the ToyFair and he gave me a copy of a beautiful book he has just edited.  The book is a coffee table style catalogue for Dutch furniture maker Klassehout which is sold by Reinders. The book is absolutely stunning, featuring fantastic photography and is one of the nicest presentations of school furniture I have ever seen, with beautiful classroom sets and some great models.

It’s inspired me to get thinking about next year’s Gratnells brochure and start planning some creative photo shoots.

photo 3 photo 2 photo 1photo 3

New tray launch – the S1

So it is all go here at Gratnells HQ! We have another new tray to add to our current line up. This one is the S1 – a narrower version of our standard Shallow F1 tray which has been specially designed to fit neatly under classroom desks. It will fit next to an F1 tray underneath a standard 600mm desk. Please note this tray is available in red, blue, green and yellow (and no longer supplied in translucent or grey).

If you are interested in this tray download the product sheet below and email me if you would like a free sample.


S1 product sheet

More trays spotted on TV!

As always we love spotting Gratnells products on TV. This Christmas we were thrilled to see some F1 Shallow trays in Greg Davies’ comedy show Man Down.

Man Down is Channel 4’s new comedy series written by and starring Greg Davies as Dan, a childish teacher whose world is on the brink of collapse. Luckily though they have Gratnells trays in his school’s staff room, so all is not complete doom and gloom!

Channel 4’s Man Down starring Greg Davies and Gratnells Trays!

More information on the show can be found on 4oD and you can watch the latest episodes.