Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
Outdoor shelters and canopies are a great way to extend the space available to schools - from outdoor classrooms and dining areas to covered playgrounds - but how do you make sure you choose the right canopy or shelter for your school? Ask yourself the following five questions and you can’t go wrong.
What will the canopy be used for?
It’s important to consider when your canopy will be in use, whether it’s during the summer months or all-year-round.
Whichever option works for your school, it’s important to ask a supplier what safety standards their canopies adhere to and what safety features are built in, questions you might want to ask include:
• Is there 100% UV protection?
• Does it conform to British wind and snow loading standards?
• Is the canopy freestanding?
• Does it have minimal legs and leg pads to protect against injury?
As well as the safety of the canopy, it is also important to consider what activities will be happening inside the canopy, as this will affect your overall decision. There are a range of canopies on the market, catering to all requirements:
• Covered outdoor dining areas are great at creating extended areas, so students and staff can enjoy a designated area to sit, eat and socialise
• They open up the possibility to increase school intake numbers
• Free-up internal space for other activities
• Outdoor classrooms can help children to develop skills and enhance pupils’ learning experience by being closer to nature and outside in the fresh air.
• Free-up existing classroom space internally
• Playground and courtyard canopies create a focal point for any outdoor area. They can be used in a variety of ways, from a simple covered play area to a large outdoor classroom.
• A permanent canopy creates a fun and protected area for children to play, socialise, learn and dine.
2. Will the canopy maximise space in your school grounds?
• The activities intended for the canopy will have an impact on the size of the canopy you decide to buy.
• It is useful to consider sacrificing some outside space, such as a section of grass or a portion of the playground, as the benefits of a canopy to create extra, multifunctional space that can be utilised for dining, teaching and interacting, is invaluable to the school environment!
3. Will it fit in with the existing aesthetic of the school?
When it comes to the look of your school canopy, there are appearance factors to consider:
• Does it need to fit in with the school's current aesthetic? Your canopy may need to align with a rural or modern aesthetic or perhaps your canopy needs to match a particular colour scheme?
4. Consider the Budget/Funding of your canopy
This is best to secure in advance, the first step of your school canopy journey. Broxap have a ‘Funding and Grant Providers’ page that offers a range of online service providers that can secure funding for schools projects.
From lottery grants to government schemes. Check out how your school could benefit!
5. Is Planning Permission required?
• If your chosen shelter/canopy/covered walkway requires Planning Permission, then Broxap are able to help, with our dedicated page, featuring all the information and details for your project.
• All you need to do is simply download the free, easy-to-understand guide and make your choice.
• If you would like more help or information then contact Broxap directly.
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