Create More Space with a School Canopy
Clearly there is something of a crisis on with space at our schools, on many recent visits and site surveys that Kensington has undertaken there is a recurring theme where this is a challenge with extra pupil numbers.
How can we tackle this in a way that brings lasting benefits all-round?
A superior standard of inclusive education where we think outside the box and produce work-ready students, with a great ethos to be a new generation of Great British citizens?
As what could be termed ‘self-directed learning’ becomes more common in education, in contrast to the teacher lecturing and writing up on a chalk or smart board, so the demand on space within a school’s estate is even higher. We do have some ideas about outdoor classrooms that you may like to consult here.
It is no exaggeration to say that modern pupils work in more of an office type study environment than traditional classrooms; it’s a great time to be a pupil, but there are so many more of them to cope with!
This is undoubtably a challenge for headteachers, bursars, and estates staff, so we jotted down a few ideas gathered from completed projects and up-to the minute feedback that we hope you will find helpful:
Layout Concepts To Increase Capacity
Have you thought about shifting pupil’s lockers outdoors as this creates more useable teaching space inside? This is an option that several customers have undertaken. Installing an outdoor canopy shelter can then protect these lockers and make key entry points weather proof without breaking the bank.
Are your science labs or design and technology workshops fit for purpose in these space-constrained times? Laid out in the traditional manner, both of these can gobble up precious space and might need re-thinking.
If hard decisions must happen in the light of soaring pupil numbers, this will give you extra funding, and, spent wisely, on good fresh air management and a colourful learning environment, yields better learning experiences.
Amazing how many robust vertical surfaces there are around.
You can potentially make use of hallways and corridors for storage and coat pegs as well as full height storage cupboards or wall-cabinets that could give you extra space on the floor area.
Accommodate More Pupils – Head Outdoors
The Covid pandemic has meant more emphasis on fresh air and the great outdoors but there are some solid financial reasons, as well as increased quality of education, that makes looking to what we always called ‘playgrounds’ for some practical solutions to capacity issues.
High quality outdoor school canopies and lean-to shelters can be installed with a relatively simple and fast planning permission process and at lower cost than full ‘bricks and mortar’ building extensions.
This enables you to rapidly use extra funding that comes with extra pupils to alleviate the capacity problems and gain durable and highly useful multi-purpose extra classrooms or dining areas while releasing valuable space inside existing buildings.
In our research in 2022 it is clear that pupil feedback is asking for more weatherproof covered dining areas so investment in this answers a key daily need.
Inclusive School Improvements
With the current focus on building inclusive school culture and layout it was interesting to talk to one of our school clients and see how they had made a doorway DDA compliant at the same time as moving pupil lockers outside and hence integrated two tangible benefits at once.
Covered walkways for schools and rugged aluminium canopies are in our DNA. We work closely with estates managers, janitors, LEA’s, headteachers, architects, and main contractors to design and install your outdoor dining area or class rooms complete with sunshade and weather proof motorised blinds if desired.
We’ve included a drone video tour above of a completed project that you can watch for some inspiration!