As the planet warms up under the influence of greenhouse gases, we are experiencing more weather extremes. Climate change is likely to cause hotter, drier summers and warmer, rainier winters in coming years, according to the Met Office.
These climactic factors are worth bearing in mind as you think about your school’s outdoor space and how you will maximise its use. The reality is that we’re all going to have to get used to greater extremes of weather. So when you are planning on pupils being outside (a vital part of school life), you do need to consider how you will protect them from all conditions.
Protection from the sun
Children are not able to regulate their body temperatures as well as adults during hot weather because they don’t sweat as much. Heat-related illnesses can range from mild heat stress to potentially fatal heatstroke. Clearly, natural sunlight is vital for Vitamin D, but repeated, prolonged exposure to strong UV rays could lead to skin cancer developing later in life – remember that kids’ skin is more sensitive than adults’.
Taking the usual sensible precautions however, ensures children are unlikely to be seriously adversely affected by warm weather. So when children are outside and the weather is hot, light, loose clothing, sunblock, sunhats and water are obviously all important. You’ll also want to discourage over-energetic play or PE classes in these types of conditions and to keep pupils in the shade as much as possible, especially between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest.
A school canopy provides a smart-looking and high-quality covered space which provides some shade and helps to block up to 98% of harmful UV radiation from the sun, making outdoor learning and play possible even in very hot weather.
Protection from the rain
In the UK it rains on average around 148 days per year. That means on average it’s raining for 40% of the time.
Without a covered outdoor space, opportunities for outdoor learning and play can be limited to when the weather is dry. However, a school canopy can provide not only shelter for lessons, but also a dry area to store equipment. And obviously it’s never a great idea for children and their clothes or other belongings, or other items of school property, to get drenched.
Solutions from Kensington Systems
At Kensington Systems, we supply walkways, aluminium canopies and shelters, including freestanding models, to hundreds of schools across the UK. Our clients in the education sector use them for outdoor learning, dining and play areas.
You can also enhance your canopy further by installing external blinds or fixed panels on the front and sides of the canopy to help keep driving rain out.
Another idea is our playground shade sails, which again provide protection from the sun so children can enjoy year-round outdoor play in safety. What’s more, our Sailshade system is a cost-effective shading solution, and you can take your pick from a wide range of fabric colours.
Get in touch today to discuss what we could do for your school, and to get a no-obligation quote.