Suzanne is a senior team member of Distinction Furniture who we had the pleasure of getting to know and of working with. Early last year we as a school had started down the path of establishing MLE by looking into a range of different MLE. Suzanne captivated us and her experience and understanding of MLE was outstanding. However, it was her ability to listen and capture Bellevue School’s unique culture and vision (Montessori and main stream) that has enabled a momentous shift here in Bellevue School with the establishment of the first of many flexible Learning Studios.
Suzanne willingness to listen and understand all of our reservations and requirement was remarkable. It was help by her incredible passion, knowledge and expertise that enabled her to bring together a myriad of opinions and thoughts as she worked extensively with our students, senior staff and myself. She constantly listened and communicated with us; doing classroom visits and observations, texting, e-mailing, Face time calls and hosting a contingent of us on a tour of some North Island schools who were effectively teaching in MLE using Distinction furniture.
One of the key factors that made this experience for Bellevue such a positive one was the way in which Suzanne valued our student’s voice in the decision making process. She warmly and easily connected with the students and developed an excellent rapport with them. This was particularly evident when hosting us during our North Island schools tour. Suzanne casually and unassumingly went about doing the little one percenters, where she would sit down alongside a group of students, listen, encourage and laugh with them and take on-board the students thoughts, suggestions and ideas. This was very noticeable as she would do this even whilst walking around the distinction factory floors during one of our stop offs. The establishment of Bellevue’s first MLE has been nothing short of fantastic as it has given our students a real sense of ownership of the furniture and of the Bellevue School’s vision. Consequently, they students, love, maneuver, experiment with and respect the furniture.
The furniture is really effective in complimenting the vision Bellevue School has of best practice teaching and learning. The furniture has enabled our students to learn where and in a way that best suits them. It caters for a huge variety of different learning styles and learning dispositions which we think is tremendously important for today’s learners. The effects of Distinctions MLE have been very evident and quantifiable. We have noticed a much greater attendance, engagement and positive attitude towards learning, in particular, that of our priority learners.
Bellevue Primary has developed a philosophy based on inspirED (inspired education) which links to some of the principles of known models of best practice including that of Maria Montessori and the Hermann Brain Model. The MLE furniture complements and connects with our philosophy beautifully and what was a trial has turned out to be a fully-fledged, all in, change of pedagogy and practice from our staff. To know more about our inspirED philosophy you can follow via Twitter or Flickr @inspirEDnz or like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/inspirED.
Thanks Suzanne for making the impossible possible.
Please feel free to pop in anytime or arrange a time to visit me in class. Alternatively, call or email as I am extreme confidence in Suzanne’s ability and would whole heartedly support and endorse her in whatever she puts her hand to.
Distinction has been a valued supporter of Papamoa College through the establishment phase and now our first year, with supplying a wide range of stock and customised furniture.
No problem is too challenging for the team at Distinction. Their prior experience in the furniture industry is reassuring and it is clear that their business is well supported by suppliers, manufacturers and freight firms.
They are expert at building a solid working relationship with their clients and backing it up with results. The quality of product is high and delivery is always on time and in excellent condition.
They do what they say they will do!
I have no hesitation in recommending Distinction as a business that operates with integrity and 100% commitment to their clients.
Albany Senior High School has been delighted tow work with Distinction Furniture in the setting up of the furniture and equipment requirements for our interim campus.
The company understands the need for sturdy, well constructed, and reasonably priced furniture for the education environment. The flexibility to adapt designs to suit our particular needs, and their advice and guidance has been very helpful.
Our best decision has been the Pantoflex chairs. They have been well received by both staff and students and are proving to be a very good choice.
The communication between Distinction and ourselves is excellent with any issues being followed up promptly and with consideration. Their follow up is also invaluable and greatly appreciated.
A great company to work with….
Christine Routledge – Business Manager
I have known Julie Carter and the team at Distinction Furniture for over 12 years. They have been supplies of furniture to three schools that I have been Principal of over that time and to our family business which is based in Albany. They have also been strong supportes of the professional organisations in education that I have been involved with since 1994.
Julie Carter is a person of high personal and professional integrity. She makes it her business, as do the rest of her team, to develop a long-term client relationship with those she deals with. This means that she has always been willing to listen to our needs and try and develop solutions to meet those. Once the furniture items have been supplied I have always found that Distinction has stood by its products and have been unfailingly diligent about recitfying any problems and issues.
The Distinction team were our suppliers of choice for the new school we opened this year at Snells Beach in Rodney. As principal of this school, I knew that I could rely on Julie and her team to assist right from the early stages of design and that her suggestions and idea would fit with the brief that we gave her. As a result we opened on 5 February with a set of furniture in every classroom that was well fit for purpose, looked modern and inviting and whiuch has proven to be extremely practical. We also sourced our administration and staffroom furniture and furnishings throught Distinction and we are extremely pleased with the professional, smart, yet welcoming result, which we feel fits with our community and our school ethos. Distinction also arranged the supply and installation of the whiteboards throughout the school and this process was very smooth.
Jill Corkin, Principal
I found that Distinction Furniture stood out as the company of choice, not only on the basis of their ability to deliver quality product at the best price, but also on a number of other important criteria.
We had the pleasure to work with Dorothy Pearce during this process and Distinction’s commitment to allocating a key person as our liaison for all matters was very important to us. We built a relationship of trust and were impressed with Dorothy’s unfailing and prompt responsiveness to our needs.
Distinction were prepared to work with us to achieve the best result. They arranged delivery to meet our needs, responded to and acted as an intermediary with suppliers if there were any concerns over product specifications, and followed up to ensure our satisfaction.
We were built as an environmentally sustainable designed school and, as such, had rigid requirements around material specifications. Distinction worked with us to ensure these were met and provided all necessary paperwork for compliance. This was achieved without compromising quality or cost effectiveness.
As a new and innovative school, we custom designed a number of our furniture items to meet our specific learning environment. Distinction were prepared to make prototypes for us to test before we committed to mass production of the items. This was greatly appreciated and has resulted in quality products which are meeting our needs.
We believe we have an amazing school environment and the quality of our furniture is a key aspect of this. Based on our experience of working with Distinction Furniture, I would have no hesitation in recommending them warmly as a quality supplier with integrity and a commitment to customer service.
Joan Middlemiss, Principal Mission Heights Junior College
Our team are satisfied that we have purchased quality ergonomic furniture which will provide for many generations to come. We are especially pleased with the design of the Pantoflex chair as it is not only comfortable but great for all those growing bodies.
Distinction were extremely professional and helpful throughout the whole process – from providing colour schemes, assisiting with correct heights and combinations, right through to delivery.
I have no hesitation in recommending Distinction furniture and service. Thanks for the jellybeans!
Steve Wadsworth – Principal
I have had a very amicable professional association with the Principals, julie Carter and Dorothy Pearce, and in fact the whole wider team at Distinction for close now to seventeen years, the last eight here at Epsom Girls Grammar. Their helpful advice, suggestions and problem-solving solutions, their friendly and courteous attention to, and understanding of, the procedures and processes often associated with furniture design, style, colour and fabric choice, and their ability and willingness to often source more appropriate and cost-effective alternatives, is part of their enduring style and service; it can relieve much of the stress that is often associated with end-of-project deadlines and budgets constraints.
The Distinction team have a very broad level of knowledge and experience within the education market, and their firm is highly regarded in the education circles where the production of quality, style, guaranteed workmanship and competitive pricing are key governing factors.
Whilst I have always found the Distinction price extremely competitive, it is their pre-order, post-order and post-delivery follow-up and fact that they stand by their sales absolutely, that makes them such a reliable and responsible firm to deal with. Any organization or educational facility looking for new furniture, or the upgrade/renovation of existing furniture or areas, whether classrooms, resource rooms of office spaces, would be well pleased with a decision to contact Distinction. Existing customers would, I am certain, vouch for their satisfaction.
Distinction has provided us with expert advice as we have remodelled office areas with new furniture, as well as new furniture in reception and staff areas. At all times Julie has been prompt, efficient and interested in what we have been trying to do. She is always friendly, positive and attention to detail is to the fore, thus ensuring our choices are correct, functional and attractive! Follow up is always forthcoming and done so with a smile on their faces.
The quality of the furniture and accesories has been outstanding and favourably commented upon by visitors and staff alike. I wholeheartedly recommend Distinction to any individual or institution looking at new furniture and I am more than happy to expand on my recommendation if necessary.
Iain Taylor – Principal
Eric Shiels General Manager Saint Kentigern Trust Board
Darren Smith Principal St Leonards Road School
Phil Cowie Principal Rototuna Primary School
Terry Hewetson Principal Glen Eden Intermediate School
Graham Henricksen Business Manager Lynfield College
Jason Valentine-Burt Foundation Principal Upper Harbour School
Jeannie McLean Business Manager Waitakere College
John Underwood Property Manager Westlake Girls High School
Luke Sumich Principal Summerland School