Here, Canopies UK, leading installer, designer and manufacturer of outdoor canopies, who’s installed more than 5000 canopies at nurseries, schools and colleges across the UK, reveals how one college in particular has overcome its lack of space issues.
With average class sizes continuing to steadily creep up and budget pressures remaining a constant challenge, space is fast becoming a precious asset for many schools and colleges these days.
Many of them are taking a step back and re-evaluating their outdoor space and, in some circumstances, taking some bold, but highly effective steps towards solving their lack of space dilemma.
A case in point
Catering at Winstanley College is provided by external provider, Caterlink, who provides schools, colleges and universities across the UK with a range of catering services. Canopies UK was approached by Caterlink shortly after it’d won the college’s catering contract and the brief was simple – to cater for more students when space within the dining hall was already tight.
Having worked extensively with the education sector, Canopies UK immediately knew how to solve this predicament. The company specified one of its Cantabria outdoor canopies, which:
- Was tailored to the brief – meaning that the canopy ticked both the college’s and Caterlink’s requirements.
- Doubles up as a multi-purpose room – that students use during their free periods all-year round, which was one of the college’s main requirements.
Now that the Cantabria is in place, Caterlink is serving more students during break and lunchtimes, while the students themselves have a light, bright area where they can study, regardless of what the weather is doing. They can sit with the sun shining down on them and on grey, winter days, they can still use the area because the roof of the Cantabria can be closed at the touch of a button.
Incorporating LED lighting and electric heating, the Cantabria has become a much-loved feature at Winstanley College. And it is now widely referred to by students and staff as the Garden Room and used for a wide range of events, such as parents’ evenings.
Conor Edwards, Director of Finance and Resources at Winstanley College, said: “Our Cantabria canopy provides us with an outdoor dining area and a student space that’s used regularly by many of our students in all weathers.
“In the winter, it’s still warm enough to use, as the glass sides keep out the cold, and in the summer, the roof and the walls can be opened back to let in the fresh air and sunshine.”
Jason Eastwood, Managing Director of Canopies UK, said: “Having enough room for all pupils to sit and eat a healthy meal during lunch hours is fundamental to their wellbeing.
“We recently spoke to senior school leaders about the matter at this year’s Schools and Academies Show and were concerned to find that 54% consider dining capacity to be a major issue within their school. This equates to an average of 2.14 pupils to every available dining seat.
“We’re also constantly talking to schools and colleges week-in-week-out about this very issue. And as an industry-leading outdoor canopy manufacturer, we’re pleased to be in a position where we can provide a sector-wide solution that means educational establishments can also get more use from their outdoor space.”