Canopies: Creating More Outdoor Space for Your School

January 20, 2021

As we settle into our third lockdown here in the UK, schools across the country are working hard to deliver a curriculum to students both in their own homes and in the classroom.

To remain compliant with government guidance and law, we are seeing schools look at innovative ways to keep vulnerable pupils in school and to prepare for returning students when lockdown is lifted. Indoor spaces can make it difficult to remain compliant, with slim corridors often meaning staff and pupils are forced, in passing, to be less than 2 meters apart. Therefore, schools are looking at increasing their usable outdoor space using gazebos or canopies as a cost-effective solution.

Let’s take a closer look at how canopies can create more usable space for your school.

Why Use a Canopy in 2021

Using a canopy has a number of benefits to enhance the school environment, especially as we move into 2021.

Protection from the Elements

In the UK, the weather is unpredictable… fact. We can be blessed with glorious sun one day, and pouring rain the next. It’s therefore difficult to plan outdoor activities without protection from the elements.

Canopies can provide protection from wind, rain, snow and UV rays – meaning all-weather out-door activities can continue.

Keeping Safe

School pick-up can be made more pleasant and safe by ensuring parents stay outdoors and 2 meters apart. In the UK, winter can be wet and cold and shelter will be most welcome by parents coming to collect their child(ren) at the school gates.

Alongside good hand and hygiene practices, schools are being asked, where possible to provide physical education outside. Alongside PE classes, the Department for Education (DfE) also advises that playing instruments and singing groups be taken outdoors where possible to prevent the spread of infection. Implementing a canopy structure can mean classes can be moved outdoors whilst remaining comfortable for pupils and staff.

We have also noted many schools looking to increase the space for dining as their canteens can have a large footfall at break and lunchtimes (naturally – we all need to refuel). Therefore, increasing their canteen space by utilizing outdoor areas is a great way to keep safe.

Outdoors & Wellbeing

It’s a well-known fact, and one promoted heavily by the Institute for Outdoor Learning, that taking classes outdoors has a huge benefit on one’s wellbeing, both physical and mental. Whilst many nature exhibits and parks are closed presently, due to the pandemic, classes can still be taken onsite, outside.

The Institute for Outdoor Learning has new guidance and support for Schools on taking learning outside safely whilst using your available space. Find out more here.

Financial Support

If your school is restricted by budget (that’s no new news here) – take a look at the grant-award winning bodies and organisations that can award you financial support for your project.

Grant Finder is a free resources to help you find and secure funds for your school.

Canopies can provide shelter and provide more useable outdoor space to facilitate outdoor learning.

Paper Plus offer a range of canopy structures that are tailored to your school requirements. Get in touch today to find out more.



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