How safe are your students’ school chairs?

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but in the classroom, it can also be dangerous. The imitation of compliant Australian manufactured school furniture has the potential to put children’s safety at risk … and that’s an unacceptably high price to pay for cheaper chairs and tables.  

In many cases, copy-cat school furniture is bulk produced in questionable overseas workshops by underpaid workers. The materials used are inferior and there is no focus on quality, safety or sustainability.

For almost 70 years, Woods Furniture has been designing and manufacturing school furniture in Victoria – working with educators to create products that are safe, sturdy and enhance the learning environment. However, Managing Director Tony Rogers says that in recent years we have seen more and more Australian schools being furnished with cheap imported copies. Although the same in appearance, these copies are far from equal.

Tony has seen many instances of cheaper imported school chairs breaking within the classroom environment.

“We have been called out to inspect chairs that the school believed were our certified locally manufactured Woods brand.  When these chairs have failed, of course school principals are concerned and angry. To their embarrassment, it consistently turns out that the school has been provided with inferior imported copies.  These imported chairs regularly need replacing within 1 to 2 years, opposed to locally manufactured products that come with a 10-year warranty.”

When it comes to a student chair, there is none better than the original PantoFlex, and unless purchasing directly from Woods Furniture, it is not the original.

Of the 4 chairs in this image, only one is the Original PantoFlex. The other 3 are copies obtained by Woods Furniture when called out to schools to inspect what is believed to be an original.



Woods manufactures the PantoFlex chair, along with all their products, at their ISO 9001 and 14001 accredited local manufacturing facility in Melbourne’s inner west. In addition to their ISO accreditations, many of their products are individually certified to the AS/NZS 4610 Standard for School and Educational Furniture and AFRDI 150 Green Tick Standard for Sustainability.

 “Manufacturing our products to the highest quality AS/NZS and International Standards, ensures they meet the demands of classrooms today and well into the future, as well as giving us the confidence to provide a 10-year guarantee.”

“We are also passionate about being leaders in environmental sustainability. Our commitment to Green provides schools with the confidence that our furniture meets environmental, human health and ethical impact criteria.”

“We recognise our social responsibility to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace free of discrimination, encouraging the participation of Indigenous people and cultures within our operations and adhering to the Modern Slavery Act.”


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