School Business Manager and Headteacher Support


Trent Vale Infant School, UK has 150 pupils with 7.5 FTE teachers and 8 FTE teaching assistants. In addition, a 52 place nursery, successfully runs along on site. Staff turnover is low, school leadership is progressive and values based.

The School Motto which underpins all their work is ‘Helping each other towards excellence in all that we do’.
As a school, 2017-18 priorities include:-

  • A relentless focus on improving the quality and consistency of teaching
  • Monitoring and evaluating the delivery and impact of interventions/provision”.

These priorities helped shaped the basis of the collaboration with Jolly Back.


Trent Vale first purchased a Jolly Back chair in July 2017 on the recommendation of a Local Authority Occupational Health Advisor supporting a member of staff with back and knee pain back to work. The Jolly Back chair successfully enabled the member of staff to return to work.

Once in school, another staff member with back pain, asked to try it and found it eased her pain and made working at low tables much easier and more comfortable. A second Jolly Back chair was purchased to help support the member of staff everyday in the classroom.

Janet Humpherson, School Business Manager (SBM) realised that other members of staff had back ache and were not a young workforce. Having experienced back pain herself, she felt every member of staff who wished to have a Jolly Back chair to support and help them at work should be able to have one.

Wishing to make a significant investment to benefit all staff at Trent Vale, Janet connected Lorna at Jolly Back to arrange a trial of: a Jolly Back Chair, PosturePad cushions (to assist staff with floor sitting (indoors and out) and kneeling, PosturePad Junior cushions (to assist improved posture and concentration in pupils sitting on the floor and on their chairs).


School Business Manager, Janet Humpherson
“No-one has been off with back or knee pain since investing in Jolly Back chairs. We have a supportive culture at Trent Vale but I can definitely say morale has increased even further since our collaboration. The chairs are a very reasonable cost as they’re stopping staff going off sick. Supply cover costs me £200 a day for a teacher. We try not to use TAs to cover as then the cost is on childcare and learning (e.g guided reading, 1 on 1) which will affect performance and education of our children.
When we needed an office chair for a member of staff with back pain, it cost £360 so I think the Jolly Back chair is good value.

Although we didn’t have a high turnover of staff or those off with back pain frequently before, I know now that our valued teachers are healthier and have an improved quality of life. That’s really good to know.

I’d not really thought about musculoskeletal pain prior to the study, staff used to say they were fine in the holidays but when they got back to school they had back and knee pain within a few days and we didn’t really think or pinpoint the cause. It’s only when people sit down and think about it, now we are much more aware and open about it. We have a reporting system in place via a book in the office for early reporting, so any future issues are addressed quickly.

An unforeseen positive impact on learning has been that one member of staff with a chronic, progressive joint condition was previously quite stressed with the children as she was in pain and understandably that makes it harder to be patient. Since having her Jolly Back chair, her behaviour management has improved no end and children and parents/carers are happier.”

Testimonials from staff on the Jolly Back Chair

“I’m sitting upright at the same height as the children, but not tucking feet under so my ankles feel better too. Knees not as stiff”

“I did use a stool before but that put pressure on my back and my feet were swollen at the end of the day. The Jolly Back chair lets me move around the classroom in comfort and my feet don’t get swollen”.

“Back rest can be positioned in the correct place for your height. The wheels help you move and it’s lightweight too.”

“I can ask my children to bring me my chair and don’t risk hitting them on the head as it doesn’t need lifting”.

“I’ve no pain when sitting, much easier to move after sitting, amazing”.

“I’ve got to work financially until claiming my pension at 67. I was struggling before. The support of the back of the chair has helped me and it’s not difficult to move around.”

“I have a chronic joint condition, it gives me best posture whilst sitting which in turn takes pressure of my joints. I noticed a remarkable difference with my joints after using my chair within a few days”.
Take pressure of my joints when standing up/sitting down.

“I like the general comfort. If I’m comfortable, my work with children is easier. Children can even get my chair for me!”

“I am less tired and go home with more energy at the end of the day. It’s made a difference at home too”.

“I’ve been a teacher for 29 years and have never heard of or used anything so useful, makes the job so much easier”.

Testimonials from staff on the PosturePad cushions

The PosturePad Junior children’s cushion “improved children’s posture and attention span”.
The PosturePad cushion “made sitting on the carpet and kneeling more comfortable”.


Jolly Back and Trent Vale have enjoyed collaborating in a personalised way to help improve the comfort of staff and outcomes for pupils. Both organisations are proud to be part of a valuable & proactive intervention.

Trial and introduction of Jolly Back products and advice has improved both the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of teachers and teaching assistants. The School meets its legal H&S requirements with regards to reducing musculoskeletal injury as far as is reasonably practical for staff and volunteers by providing suitable seating (at the appropriate height, with specific function and weight-tested for adults).

The Trent Vale leadership team are genuinely motivated to care for their staff, supporting them to be the best they can be, as such, they attract high calibre staff and retain them well.

Staff morale and energy levels have improved leading to more effective behaviour management within the school learning environment and further positive contributions have been shown to benefit whole school community. Staff are “genuinely willing to go the extra mile”. Workload is effectively managed within the supportive team.

Staff sickness absence from back and knee pain has been eliminated, meaning financial savings on supply and associated costs.

“Fundamentally this collaboration has helped improve the quality and consistency of our teaching and we are very pleased with the positive impact it’s had on the everyday work and life of our teachers. In addition, the Jolly Back collaboration has contributed towards our school vision and priorities for 2017-18”, Jackie Moss, Executive Headteacher, Trent Vale Infant and Nursery School.