+44 (0)117 958 9933 sales@kensingtonsystems.co.uk

Playground Shade Sails

Kensington Systems is a trusted supplier of playground shade sails to schools and businesses throughout the UK.

Our unique offer includes the following:

  • Free site survey
  • All groundworks included
  • Wide range of colours and designs

“Great price, great product and a very personal service’”

Facilities Manager, Downsview Primary School

Benefits of our Playground Shade Sails

Choice of designs

Choice of Designs

Playground Shade sails are available in different designs depending on your needs. Two of the most popular options are the hypar style square shade sail with 4 posts, or the umbrella shaped ‘conic’ sail with only one post.

However, there are many other designs available, and we can design a sail bespoke to your requirements if needed.

All Groundworks Included 1

All Groundworks Included

Installing a playground shade sail is not just about the canopy itself – you also need to think about groundworks.

We provide groundworks as part of our service. We also project manage the installation process from start to finish. This includes groundworks, installation, resurfacing and final cleanup.

Our installations are carried out by DBS-checked installers to minimise disruption to your school as much as possible.

Free site survey

Free site survey

We’ll come to site and measure up for your school shade sail, and advise you on what kind of shade sail is best for your needs.

Within a few working days, you’ll have a full quote, including groundworks, installation and making good.

School canopy

Wide Range of Colours and Fabrics

Tensile fabrics come in a wide range of vibrant colours. The bright colours and dramatic shape of the sail create a bright, fun focal point in your school’s playground.

Shade sails fabrics can either be shade only or fully waterproof, depending on your school’s needs.

The sail is designed so that water runs straight off it. This means that additional drainage systems are not required and the fabric is not damaged by surface water pooling.

“They were polite and professional and their products are high quality – we’re very happy with the end result.”

Site Manager, Perry Court Primary School

outdoor shade canopy

Contact Us Today:

Tell us about your project (eg size, location, budget)

Our range of school canopies & shelters

Kensington designs, manufactures, and installs a variety of outdoor canopies for schools across the UK. Our installation services are available for all types of schools including early years to primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities. We take pride in the quality of our school canopies, and the reliability of our installation work. Call us today and we can talk about the best type of canopies and playground shelters for your school, or see the further in-depth information and videos on this page.

Our range of school canopies

Durable Innovative fully recyclable 1

TimberPlus Canopies

Increased Outdoor Learning Opportunities benefots

Outdoor Learning Pods

Providing a safe, comfortable and stimulating environment is one of the primary goals of every school. Students need a great place to study, rest and have fun. Our canopies make ideal extensions of the classroom or canteen. They provide a relaxed and interesting environment, make full use of space and add interesting dimensions to teaching.

outdoor shade canopy

The Advantages of a Playground Shade Sail

The playground shade sail adds a focal point to any playground while its high-quality fabric provides up to 98% UV protection. This helps protect your students against harmful UV rays and extends the lifespan and quality of your playground equipment.

We design, install, and project manage the whole process for you, meaning that you can have the confidence that students and staff are safe and comfortable during playtime.

outdoor shade canopy

Shade Sails for Schools

The Sailshade is a popular shade sail system for school playgrounds that enables year-round outdoor play in safety, with a wide range of coloured fabrics available.

As a smart and vibrant shade solution, the Sailshade can be configured to suit your school’s playground.

The high-quality shade cloth used in these canopies is designed as a durable and stable outdoor fabric for use in tension structures.

If a more substantial canopy structure is required, offering protection from a greater range of UK weather including wind and rain, see our innovative canopies for schools.

outdoor shade canopy

Kensington Systems Makes It Easy

At Kensington Systems, we make sure our clients from the educational sector obtain the playground shade sail that matches their needs. Our team ensures a hassle-free process from initial design to final installation. You can work directly with architects and contractors to make sure our shade sails are tailored around your requirements.

Canopies for Schools

Playground Shade Sail Designs

The fluid shapes and bright colours of a shade sail add drama and excitement to a playground or courtyard.

Shade sails for schools are usually one of three types:

Hypar: a very popular tensile structure which is typically square or rectangular in shape and has posts on each corner (and sometimes in the middle). They are commonly used in schools and commercial applications.

Conic: this type of shade sail is sometimes known as an umbrella sail because that’s what it looks like. Conic sails have a single supporting mast so are often used for covering large areas where the number of posts needs to be kept to a minimum.

Perimeter: these playground shade sails are different from hypar and conic sails because the sail is supported by a steel framework underneath the fabric. This puts less tension on the posts and means smaller foundations are possible, hence they are often used when digging large foundations is not possible or desirable.

“The installation was highly professional and we were consulted and kept informed throughout the process.”

Headteacher, Hillside First School

outdoor canopy

Playground Shade Sail Case Study – The Deaf Academy

The playground at the Deaf Academy is designed to be colourful, with overlapping circles of rainbow coloured rubber crumb, brightly coloured equipment and shade sails.

Kensington Systems installed a trio of 3 triangular playground shade sails in colours to match the schools’ badge, providing a versatile shaded area for children to enjoy.

outdoor canopy

School Shade Sails Case Study – Warmley Park School

Warmley Park School was purpose-built for children with severe learning difficulties in the South Gloucestershire area.

It features several covered outdoor areas for children to use, including Spaceshade® canopies and this playground shade sail.

St Dunstans Shade Sail

Playground Shade Sail Case Study – St Dunstan’s College

St Dunstan’s College was looking to add some more covered areas to its playgrounds. They chose to install Spaceshade® canopies outside the classrooms and a large shade sail in the playground.

The shade was manufactured to match the unusual shape of the area to provide the maximum coverage possible. The flexibility of a tensile structure makes difficult shapes and areas simple to cover.

“Our canopy is still looking fabulous, solid structure.”

Facilities Manager, OSG Swansea Campus

School and Playground Shade Sail FAQs

What are shade sails for schools and businesses?

A shade sail is a piece of flexible (‘tensile’) fabric tensioned between at least 3 anchor points. It is designed to provide shade from the sun and is available in several different designs, including hypar, conic and perimeter beam shade sails. Shade sails are very popular in schools and hospitality businesses as they provide comfortable shading and an architectural feature in outdoor areas. One of the benefits of shade sails is they are available in a wide range of bright colours.

What is the difference between an awning, a canopy and a shade sail?

The words ‘awning’, ‘canopy’ and ‘shade sail’ are often used interchangeably but they have distinct meanings. An awning is a fabric shade which is fixed to and supported by a wall. They are often rectangular in shape and are designed to extend and retract as needed. A canopy is a fixed, generally freestanding structure often constructed from aluminium, timber or steel, generally with a polycarbonate or glass roof. Shade sails are freestanding structures with a fixed fabric sail supported by posts generally manufactured from steel or timber. Read more about each different structure here.

Do you need planning permission for a school shade sail?

It is always best to check with your local authority whether planning permission is required. The shade sail may fall under Permitted Development guidelines if it is less than 5m from the school boundary and is less than 25% of the total footprint of the building or less than 100 sqm (whichever is less) and has a total height of less than 5m. Kensington Systems can provide you with bespoke CGI visualisations to help you apply for planning. Read more about applying for planning permission for your shade sail.

School Shade sail prices

The price of a shade sail can be dependent on the chosen design, size, fabric type, post material etc. It is often assumed that shade sails are a lot cheaper than a canopy and sometimes they can be more cost-effective. However, people often do not take into account that much larger foundations are required for shade sails than canopies, which adds to the overall cost. Get in touch with us to get a quote for a shade sail.

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Shade Sail Image 7

What are the benefits of tensile fabric sails?

Tensile fabric sails provide a stunning feature in your school’s playgrounds and outdoor areas. They provide vibrant colour and shade for outdoor learning, play or dining, and if you choose a waterproof sail fabric, weather protection. A conic sail requires only one or sometimes two posts, keeping the area relatively free from obstructions and lending itself to a flexible use of space.

The area in my school I want to cover is an unusual shape. Can I get a shade sail to cover that?

Yes, hypar fabric sails can accommodate non-standard shapes easily. A conic or perimeter beam sail is not recommended for non-standard shapes, as they tend to be manufactured in standard square or rectangular sizes.

Why do shade sails need such large foundations?

Shade sails rely on large foundations to keep their posts rigid and the sail correctly tensioned. If the posts move once in place, the tensioning of the sail is affected, causing it to flap in high winds. A flapping sail not only looks bad, but is also a health and safety hazard – the movement of the sail damages the fixings anchoring the sail to the post, eventually causing them to break. The exception to the rule is perimeter beam shade shade sails, where the sail is contained within a metal frame. In this case the frame keeps the sail tensioned correctly and large foundations are not required.

How can I maintain my shade sail?

Check the posts, sail and fixings regularly for any signs of damage and repair before it becomes a hazard. Clean the sail a couple of times a year to prevent the buildup of excess dirt, mould and mildew. Read more about maintaining your shade sails here.

Do you have DBS accreditation?

Yes, our installation teams hold enhanced DBS-accreditation enabling them to work on site unsupervised if required.

How can I expect the playground shade sail installation process to work?

1 enquiry

1. Enquiry

You get in touch with us via website, email or phone.

dark grey school canopy installed in front of white building

2. Site Visit & Quote

We come to site, do a detailed survey and produce a quote and bespoke visual based on that.

3 order agreed

3. Order agreed

We agree an order and a deposit is paid. Our project manager visits site to meet you and kickstart the installation process. Final designs are produced for your approval.

4 installation


Our groundworkers and installers arrive, securely fence the area and begin work. Work is completed with minimum disruption to your school.

dark grey school canopy installed in front of white building

5. Aftercare

We leave the site clean, tidy and ready to use. We’ll be there to support you if you need us again.

What sectors do we work in?

Maximise ROI


Kensington / Imperial Tobacco


RMHC Cardiff security Shutter


Morrisons Bromsgrove Rolshade 430 Roller Blinds


dark grey school canopy installed in front of white building

Public Sector

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