91% of schools call dining space a ‘major issue’

Posted on | Posted in Education

In 2022, the number of students in UK schools hit 9 million – a huge 88,000 increase from 2021 (gov.uk). Class sizes are constantly on the rise, so it’s no surprise that many schools up and down the UK are struggling to accommodate the additional numbers, particularly at lunchtimes.  

At Canopies UK, we wanted to find out the true scale of the space problem in UK schools. So, when we attended the Schools & Academies Show (SAAS) 2022 in Birmingham earlier this month, we took the opportunity to speak directly with the school leaders in attendance to find out more.  

91% of schools struggle with dining space, new survey reveals  

We surveyed and chatted with attendees at SAAS 2022 to find out more about the current state of dining capacity within schools. We knew from conducting previous, similar surveys that a large number of schools admit to having problems with dining space. Our survey in 2019 found that 54% of school leaders said dining space was a major issue. When we carried out the same survey this year, the up-to-date results surprised even us. 

Incredibly, a huge 91% of school leaders we surveyed over the course of the event said that dining space is a major issue within their schools.  

Hearing stories first-hand from school leaders really highlighted to us just what a pressing issue space within schools is. The vast majority of schools are struggling to find the space to accommodate pupils. It’s an issue that’s only getting worse, and one that desperately needs to be addressed.  

The strain put on schools to accommodate additional numbers is particularly evident at lunchtime. This is concerning, given that it’s important for the health and well-being of pupils that they’re able to sit and eat a healthy meal during their lunch hour. When schools don’t have enough dining space available for students to comfortably sit and eat, they may be tempted to wander off-site or even skip lunch altogether.   

Helping schools solve the space issue 

Given what we know about how tough space in schools can be, our vision at Canopies UK is to help as many schools as possible solve their everyday space-related problems. We know overcrowding is a major issue, but it’s one that we can help schools alleviate.  

We’ve been helping schools get the additional space they need with our canopies for over 30 years. Today, we’re proud to be recognised across the country as the leading designer, manufacturer and installer of school canopies. 

Our canopies provide schools of all sizes with much-needed additional space that protects students from the elements. From nurseries and primary schools through to high schools and colleges, we can help boost dining, teaching or leisure space with a high-quality, long-lasting canopy.  

Canopies offer a great alternative to a full extension, and in the case of our Cantabria canopy, can even be fully enclosed and fitted with lighting and heating. Our canopies can be used to create a wide range of sheltered spaces, such as: 

  • Outdoor dining space 
  • Learning or play areas 
  • Study zones 
  • Covered walkways  

We speak to schools and academies week-in-week-out about their issues with space. And as industry-leading school canopy manufacturers, we’re pleased to be able to provide a fantastic, long-lasting solution for most circumstances.  

A new dining area for Woodcote High School

Enclosed school dining canopy

Woodcote High School came to us as they wanted to extend their dining area. As part of the new dining space, they needed a canopy that would create some sheltered outdoor dining space. The school had issues with dining capacity, so wanted to create a useable space that could not only be used for dining, but also for other uses, like an additional teaching area.

The Cantabria offered a multi-purpose solution that suited the school’s needs perfectly. It offers extra outdoor cover where students can sit down for lunch, reducing overcrowding in the indoor dining area. The multi-use aspect of the Cantabria also means that it can be used as additional teaching or study space.

Read the full case study. 

Is dining space a major issue at your school? Why not find out just how easy getting your perfect school canopy is? Our free site survey helps us match you to a canopy that 100% suits your needs.  

Take a look at our school success stories to see what we’ve helped schools like yours achieve. If you’d like to discuss your requirements in detail, or simply have a friendly chat, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team.