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Canopies for Schools

School Canopies

Kensington Systems is a trusted supplier of canopies for outdoor learning, dining and play to hundreds of schools throughout the UK.

We make it easy for you with:

  • Free site survey
  • All Groundworks Included
  • Innovative SpaceShade® system

“The Spaceshade canopies installed at our new school are very robust and look fantastic, we are very impressed by the ongoing service levels received by Kensington Systems”

Facilities Manager, Perry Court School

outdoor shade canopy

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

Our range of school canopies and playground 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 to discuss the best canopies and playground shelters for your school. Alternatively, you can find in-depth information and videos on this page.

Our range of school canopies

covered walkway school canopy

Covered walkway canopies

Covered walkway canopies are used for covering walkways between classrooms at school. They are a great way to keep students protected from the rain during winter months and UV radiation from the sun in summer months.

solar panel canopy for schools

Solar PV canopies

Solar PV canopies are a great way to integrate a canopy that can reduce CO2 emissions and save your school money on energy, whilst still getting the same benefit from having a canopy.

coloured roof school canopy
Coloured roof canopies

Coloured roof canopies create a unique look in your school, with vivid colours in a design of your choice. Having coloured roof canopies can add a vibrant, stimulating atmosphere to playgrounds and outdoor play areas.

timber school canopy

Timber Canopies

Timber canopies offer a natural, aesthetically pleasing option for schools, rather than a full aluminium canopy which may not always match the style that your school wants to achieve.

outdoor dining canopy for schools

School dining canopies

School dining canopies are a great way to create that extra covered and weather proof outdoor space for students, where they can enjoy their break times and also get some fresh air whilst being protected. Dining canopies also optimise outdoor space that may otherwise not be used.

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.

Benefits of Our SpaceShade® School Canopies and Playground Shelters

low maintenance design canopy

Innovative, low-maintenance design

  • 25-year warranty on all SpaceShade® school canopy frames: made from powder-coated aluminium, they are extremely durable and corrosion free.
  • Integrated gutters and downpipes means there’s no snagging on external fixings and virtually no maintenance required.
  • The strong aluminium design enables larger spans and fewer uprights, with the option of fixed side panels for all-weather use.
  • All SpaceShade® canopies are modular, allowing for installation in hard-to-access areas, such as courtyards. This also allows them to be extended at a later date.
covered walkway canopy for schools

All Groundworks Included

  • Installing a playground shelter for schools 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. See Mark Hall Academy as an example.
  • Our installations are carried out by DBS-checked installers to minimise disruption to your school as much as possible.
school site survey for canopy installation

Free site survey

  • One of our specialist surveyors will aim to be at your school within five working days. We will follow up with a no-obligation quote showcasing the canopy design in your school setting. This way, you will know exactly how it will look.
Walkway canopy for schools

UV and weather protection

  • Our school canopy roofs will protect students from the sun’s harsh glare. It will also protect them from ultraviolet exposure which can be harmful.
  • Our construction offers protection from strong winds and rain. This applies whether students and teachers are learning, dining and playing outside, or moving between buildings.
  • Our polycarbonate roofs are non-fragile certified
  • SpaceShade® canopies are Solar PV-ready. This allows you to install solar panels with the canopies, or at a later date. This helps you meet your de-carbonisation targets.

“The whole process was quick and easy…they were very flexible and accommodating with different design ideas’”

Operations Manager, Ryburn Valley High School

Glulam Timber School Canopy

Canopies for Early Years or Nurseries

Our playground shelters can transform unused outdoor space into an ideal shelter for young children. Our shade and shelter products protect nursery students from harmful UV radiation so that they can comfortably spend time outdoors. These shelters also protect them from strong winds. Have a look at the Sea Mills Primary School playground shelter case study as an example.

Canopies for Primary Schools

As children get older, their curiosity about their environment increases. Schools must take responsibility for making outdoor areas safer and more comfortable. Installation of high-quality primary school canopies, provide students with a space to learn and play outside the classroom. The roofs of the outdoor learning canopies at Castle Primary School add a splash of colour and fun to the playground.

outdoor canopy

Canopies for Secondary Schools

At secondary school, students want to socialise with their friends and have some fresh air in between classes. There is no better and safer place for them to do so than on school grounds. Our playground canopies provide shade and shelter. This allows students to spend time outdoors during their lunch break or after classes in comfort. Examples of recent dining canopy installations include Ruth Gorse Academy, which has retractable blinds fitted for extra weather protection, and Thistley Hough Academy.

Canopies for Colleges

College marks the beginning of more rigorous preparation for the real world. Students would certainly appreciate college grounds which are both visually pleasing and functional. Our school canopies find the perfect balance between design and functionality.

Canopies For Universities

Universities have various people, from students, professors and visitors all moving around much of the time. Our canopies for universities provide shade. This makes the outdoors more comfortable for everyone, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions.

“We are very pleased with the structure, it enhances the appearance of the building and provides a smart-looking sheltered area for learning and recreation”

Facilities Manager, The Limes SEND School

outdoor canopy

Playground Shelter Case Study – Magna Carta Primary Academy in Essex


Magna Carta Primary Academy in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex had an existing playground shelter but it wasn’t big enough for their needs. It also didn’t cover full weather protection for the summer and winter months.

They chose Kensington to install an additional Spaceshade Max playground shelter next to it along with clear polycarbonate side walls, which are transparent and robust to both the old and new canopies, to provide extra weather protection for students.

The new outdoor learning space, created by adding a shelter, is now much bigger and offers more weather protection thanks to the new polycarbonate infill panels. The school can now benefit from double the amount of covered outdoor learning space, to make better use of their playground.

playground canopy

School Canopy Case Study – Castle Primary School in Keynsham


Castle Primary School in Keynsham had two outdoor learning canopies installed outside their early years classroom as part of a new teaching block, to add extra learning space and for a covered walkway.

A coloured roof in red, yellow and orange was chosen for their canopy to evoke the feeling of sunshine even on grey days.

The new coloured roof canopies provide an ideal extension to their classrooms and enable them to take learning outside more often. The covered walkway canopy also provides covered walkways between the old and new buildings at the school.

Kensington Systems also installed Rolshade® roller blinds in the classrooms as part of the project.


school canopy

Playground Shelter Case Study – Perry Court Primary Academy in Bristol


Perry Court Primary in Bristol were expanding due to high demand.
They were carrying our a rebuild, and as part of this wanted to ensure pupils had enough learning, outdoor play and outdoor dining space.

They needed a series of playground shelters to provide a sheltered area for outdoor learning and play. The Spaceshade® system was chosen for its features including integral downpipes and a non-fragile rating, as well as its great aesthetics.

Kensington installed 3 Spaceshade® Lux school canopies, off the side of the current school buildings and also installed post protectors on all of the shelters, for child safety.

playground shelters

School Canopy Case Study – Hacton Primary School in Essex


Hacton Primary School, in Essex, needed an outdoor learning area that was sheltered from the wind and weather, but still flexible.
They chose a Spaceshade® canopy, to provide an outdoor learning space for their school. They chose the Spaceshade system due to its modern design and built in downpipes and gutters.

The Spaceshade canopies were installed with retractable blinds installed across the front of the school, to make the outdoor learning facility weather proof. The retractable motorised external blinds integrate neatly with the canopy frame and can be raised and lowered depending on weather conditions.

The Essex primary school can now use the outdoor space all year round to teach their pupils.

“From the initial design meeting all the way through to the end of the project Kensington have been great. Our students really enjoy this new covered space that can be used all year around”

Facilities Manager, Cotham School

School Canopy and Playground Shelter FAQs

What is a school canopy?

A school canopy is an outdoor shelter which is frequently used in schools to create extra covered space. Canopies can be used for outdoor learning and play, as walkways or to create extra dining space. School canopies come in many different materials and designs, including aluminium canopies, timber canopies and tensile fabric canopies and sails. They can also be adapted to your needs by installing side walls, retractable blinds, lighting, heating and more. Find out more about the differences between school canopies, shelters and awnings.

School canopy prices

The cost of your playground canopy will depend on a number of factors, including overall size, extent of groundworks, and choice of extras like side walls. As a general rule, you can expect to pay between £500-£800 (ex VAT) per sqm for a fully installed canopy (including groundworks), depending on the size and circumstances. The cost per sqm generally reduces as the canopy increases in size.

Read more about the factors than affect the cost of a canopy.

What are the benefits of canopies for schools?

Canopies for schools have several benefits, which include:

  • Creating valuable covered space which can be used for teaching or outdoor play
  • A dining canopy or playground shelter provides cost-effective additional space compared to an extension
  • Canopies allow outdoor learning and play to take place throughout the year without being dependent on weather conditions.
  • Outdoor learning is encouraged by Ofsted and has proven benefits for childrens’ physical and mental health as well as their social development.
  • Find out more about the benefits of playground shelters and dining canopies

What are your leadtimes?

Our lead times are generally between 6-8 weeks from paying a deposit to installation. They can be dependent on the complexity of the project, availability of labour and whether you have chosen a non-standard colour.

How can I get funding for a playground shelter?

If the school does not have funding for a new playground shelter, there are other options available. The local council may offer grants, or you can apply for lottery funding or to a local grant-making trust for assistance, or raise the money yourself. You can find out more about other potential funding streams here. The Charity Excellence Framework also offers help with bid-writing when a professional bid-writer is not an option.

canopies for schools
coloured canopy for schools

Do I need planning permission for an outdoor canopy?

It is always best to check with your local authority whether planning permission is required.

The canopy 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.
If you are planning a very large structure however, planning is likely to be required.
Kensington Systems can provide you with bespoke CGI visualisations to help you apply for planning.
Read more about applying planning permission for your canopy.

Can I add side walls to a playground canopy?

Yes, you can add side walls to a Spaceshade® playground canopy. There are a wide range of options available, including glass, polycarbonate, retractable blinds and solid panels

Read more or get in touch for more details.

Do you have DBS accreditation?

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

I would like an outdoor teaching canopy but made from wood. Do you supply timber canopies as well?

Yes, if you’re looking for a wooden canopy, we offer timber canopies and playground shelters in various designs. Click here to find out more.

What is the best time to install a playground canopy?

If you don’t want the installation to take place during school time, then holidays are the best time for outdoor canopy and shelter installations. However, a term time installation is perfectly possible and can be done safely without major disruption to the school. Our teams have enhanced-DBS accreditation and are experienced in working with schools to ensure their needs are met. This article gives more detail on what you need to consider when planning an installation.

school canopy

Outdoor Shelters for Schools

Our canopies create a great learning area outdoors. This reduces the burden of large classes and enhances the look and productivity of the school.

Aluminium School Shelters

The school canopy system offers a low-maintenance solution. It is aluminium frame and has triple-wall polycarbonate. This system offers far better value for money than steel and tensile fabric options.

The polycarbonate roof is available in three different types, to give flexibility in all light levels, and UV protection. All three options also have a 65kg/sqm snow-loading capacity.

school canopy

Modular Outdoor Canopies For Schools

Kensington’s playground shelters have a modular, universal design. This eliminates the expensive engineering and fabrication costs typically associated with tensile and steel fabric structures.

Our playground and outdoor shelters bring the comforts of indoors and the calming environment of outdoors to UK schools. This allows learning to take place outside.

Our shelters come in two types; the Spaceshade® Max and the Spaceshade® Lux. Each type has its own unique combination of features.

Our modular aluminium systems are superior to traditional steel structures in terms of aesthetics, versatility, maintenance and costs. They offer various frame options, glazing options and features such as integral lighting and a certified non-fragile roof.

Available In Large Projections

We offer quick and economical school canopy solutions for large properties. The maximum projection is up to six metres, and there is no maximum length required.

Non Fragile Certified Roofs

Our Spaceshade ® canopies are certified as non-fragile to either Class A or Class B according to ACR[M]001 2014.

This means that the roof can withstand impact from above (for example, if a child or adult was to fall on it) without collapsing. This increases safety for students and staff and also reduces the potential liability for the school.

Large Span Options

Kensington’s outdoor school canopy system can create a large span width of up to seven metres between posts. This is made possible by integral steel I beams in the front lintel.

Integral Downpipes & Gutters

Spaceshade ® canopies feature completely concealed downpipes and gutters, which are built into the frame.

This unique feature not only looks great but also reduces maintenance and protects the gutter and downpipes from damage.

How can I expect the canopy installation process to work?

school canopy enquiry

1. Enquiry

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

School canopy quote

2. Site Visit & Quote

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

school canopy agreement

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.

school canopy installation


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

school canopy maintenance

5. Aftercare

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

Efficient project coordination with architects and contractors

Kensington has over 30 years of expertise in offering schools practical and economical indoor and outdoor solutions.

We have provided assistance to designers and contractors across various educational institutions. This includes helping them to create outdoor learning areas. We have also given advice on our SpaceShade® canopy types and their additional features. Our commitment to client satisfaction allows us to deliver projects on time and within budget.

Optional Canopy Add-ons

You can opt for additional accessories or equipment when you purchase a school canopy from us. Our extras include lighting, heaters and side infill sections that increase the functionality of your shelter during the colder seasons.

25-year Life Expectancy

We have a 10-year guarantee for all our school canopies. Our school canopies have a life-span expectancy of at least 25 years, ensuring long-lasting outdoor solutions for your school. Your satisfaction is our priority.

Types of School Canopies and Playground Shelters

We offer different types of tensile fabric that are perfect for all schools throughout the UK. We install bespoke canopies and shelters based on your requirements and site. As a result, we turn your school into an ideal place for learning. Choose a school canopy or playground shelter that matches your requirements from our comprehensive range.

School Canopies and Playground Shelters

Do more with your space by adding canopies to your school. Kensington’s canopies for schools feature a unique modular design.

Our system improves on traditional steel structures in cost, maintenance, flexibility and appearance. It is perfect for use as a playground shelter, outdoor classroom, or school canopy.

School Canopies

Our school canopy system is both durable and cost-effective. It allows us to expand recreational and learning areas outside the school building. Our school canopies offer protection from the weather. It also creates a comfortable area for students and teachers. They can use it to take shelter from the rain or sun.

Playground Shelters

All of the aluminium and wooden canopies on this page can be used as sturdy playground shelters, providing substantial year-round protection from all kinds of UK weather, including rain, wind, and sunshine.

Our aluminium & timber canopies are ideal for use as playground shelters. They provide protection from UK weather all year round, such as rain, wind, and sunshine

Benefits of All Types of School Canopies

As the warm weather approaches, we all love to be outside!  With a canopy at your school, you and your students can enjoy all the benefits that come with an outdoor classroom.

Keep your classrooms cool as your canopy acts as a shade from the glare of the sun.

And even if the weather isn’t all that nice, you can still access some fresh air while staying dry!

Create a dry, slip-free walkway between buildings to ensure you, your staff, and your students are safe at all times. 

A quick and easy alternative to the regular extension.

A Straightforward Design Process

Fixed or freestanding?
Decide if you want your shelter attached to a wall or freestanding.

Select your system
Check the suitability of the desired mode for its intended use and with existing facilities.

Meet design criteria
Decide on design criteria such as fragility, glazing and material specifications.

Specify your school canopy
Let us know your requirements by calling +44 (0) 117 958 9933.

School Canopy and Playground Shelter Gallery

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Public Sector

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