3 ways schools can create space with outdoor canopies

At Utility Rentals, we’re delighted to be partnering with Canopies UK to bring a fantastic range of playground canopies and…

Published: February 24, 2021

At Utility Rentals, we’re delighted to be partnering with Canopies UK to bring a fantastic range of playground canopies and shelters to schools across the country. Canopies UK has been providing top-quality canopy products for over 30 years and is a leading UK canopy design and manufacturing company.

The business makes a wide selection of canopies for schools, from outdoor dining canopies to playground shelters, outdoor classrooms, waiting shelters and walkways!

In this article, we’ll introduce you to some canopy solutions for overcrowded schools and look at three ways schools can create space with outdoor canopies.

Overcrowding in schools

Overcrowding in schools has long been a problem, and it’s on the rise. In 2020, the average secondary school class contained 22 pupils and there are now almost one million students in classes of 31-35 children.

The Department for Education (DfE) has also predicted that class sizes in secondary schools will continue to grow as a backlog of overcrowded primary classes move through the school system.

Inadequate dining space

School dining space is a major issue for most schools. Canopies UK’s discussions with school leaders indicate that 54% of schools have insufficient dining space. This translates to a (shocking) average of 2.14 students for every available dining seat across both primary and secondary schools.

Common problems that result from this, typically at lunchtimes, include:

  • Students struggling to find somewhere comfortable to sit and eat
  • Canteen queues spilling into the rest of the school
  • Students ending up late to class or missing lunch

3 ways schools can create space with outdoor canopies

So, with many schools struggling with overcrowding, how can schools create space with outdoor canopies?

Playground canopies present a versatile and flexible solution for schools that need extra space.

They can help in a variety of ways:

1) Providing multi-purpose spaces for lessons, events, and more

Overcrowded schools can help ease the pressure by using an outdoor canopy to create an additional space that can be used at any time in the school day.

Access to the space can be rotated between classes and it can be used for lessons, study, after-school clubs, meetings, exams and even events like parents’ night!

2) Creating additional dining space

By installing a freestanding canopy, such as the Cantabria, schools can have use of it for year-round dining space. Outside of mealtimes, schools can use it for lessons, studying, events and other activities.

3) Providing a playground shelter

A playground shelter can also provide much-needed additional space at break and lunchtimes. This can help alleviate problems with long queues in the canteen area and offer students a dry place to eat their lunch or play in.

Connekt umbrella canopies provide the ideal playground shelter for schools. They can even be designed to match your school’s branding!

Can my school afford an outdoor canopy?

When you consider the expense of an extension to your school building, an outdoor canopy is a cost-effective solution! It will also save your school having to go through a lengthy construction process and the associated disruption.

When you rent a playground canopy or shelter through Utility Rentals, we can tailor the design to your exact size and specifications. We can also help you overcome the budget restrictions that often occur as a result of limited capital budget. Utility Rentals has helped many schools get their ideal canopy by spreading the cost over a compliant operating lease. Leasing rather than purchasing means that you don’t need to settle for a reduced specification or a modest design!

We can include groundwork, installation, and ongoing maintenance as part of your rental agreement. You can also choose from termly, quarterly, or annual rentals – with costs fixed for the full rental term, for easy budgeting!


For more about playground canopies and shelters for your school, contact our friendly team!


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