Transforming school spaces: Q&A with a School Business Manager

Posted on | Posted in Education

Education spaces are constantly evolving. With class sizes on the rise, schools are increasingly recognising the value of adaptable, multipurpose spaces that can cater to a wide range of activities – from outdoor learning and play to dining and socialising.  

Our school canopies are an innovative choice that provide schools with much-needed additional space. Designed and installed by our expert team and backed by more than 30 years of experience, they’re versatile, long-lasting and enhance the overall school experience. 

Today, we’re looking closer at the transformative power of a school canopy with a Q&A with Adey Greaves, the School Business Manager at Allestree Woodlands School in Derby. Read on to hear more about the project, as well as a firsthand account of what it’s like to work with Canopies UK.  

Maximising outdoor space for Allestree Woodlands School 

Allestree Woodlands School had a large amount of outdoor space, but it lacked shelter. The school wanted to create some new, covered areas where students could get away from unpredictable weather conditions while also making the most of outdoor learning and socialising. They needed canopies in three different areas: 

  • A large canopy to cover some benches on an AstroTurf area. This would create a shaded area in summer and a dry area in winter, perfect for outdoor socialising and dining.
  • A covered area outside of the PE changing rooms. This would be particularly helpful for removing football boots under cover outside after lessons.
  • An additional dining space outside of the dining hall. The canopy would cover some benches that will be added in underneath and provide shade and shelter for all weather use. 

The solution: Three tailored canopies  

We proposed three Connekt canopies for the site. The Connekt is one of our most popular canopy solutions for schools, thanks to its modular design and the fact it’s highly versatile – as this project made clear. We offered tailor-made sizes for each of the canopies to suit each area on site and to stay within the school’s proposed budget.  

We tackled some challenges including access issues, but ultimately completed the work on time and as planned over the summer holidays. The end result was three new canopies that blended in perfectly with the modern look of the school and offered instant benefits to the students.  

The school’s Business Manager, Adey Greaves, can attest to the immediate benefits of these canopies. In our Q&A, he offers insights into how they’ve become integral to the daily life of the school since the students returned from their summer holidays.  

Q&A with Adey Greaves, School Business Manager 

Hi. Can you introduce yourself and your school? 

Adey Greaves, School Business Manager, Allestree Woodlands School, Derby. 

What were the main factors that influenced your decision to install a canopy at your school? Were there particular needs or challenges within the school that the canopy would help address? 

We have a vast amount of outdoor space, none of which was covered or provided any shelter for the students. In this day and age of varying weather and temperatures, the Head and I were looking for solutions to provide shade and cover from the elements. 

Why did you choose Canopies UK for your school’s canopy? What sets Canopies UK apart from any other providers you might have considered? 

We considered a number of canopy companies, but felt that Canopies UK offered the best all-round package, from site visits, to site surveys, the provision of RAMS and keeping us posted along the way with install dates and information. 

Could you describe the process of working with Canopies UK, from initially getting in touch through to installation? 

A seamless process. All visits were carried out when we were told they would be, all paperwork was provided in a timely manner, and the work was carried out with efficiency by a quality team. 

How has the canopy positively impacted your school and its daily operations? 

Within the first two weeks back at school, we have had high temperatures (and very sunny weather) and large downpours. It has been heartening to see the students making use of the canopies in both these extremes. They are a really good addition to the school fabric. 

Canopies that redefine school spaces  

The project at Allestree Woodlands School is a perfect testament to the positive impact that our canopy systems can have on daily school life. As schools up and down the UK continue to grow, the value of creating multifunctional areas like these is undeniable. They provide shelter, enhance outdoor experiences and seamlessly blend into the school environment, offering an overall more positive learning environment for all. 

Are you a school leader looking to enhance your school’s outdoor space? Our team is ready to help you with a forward-thinking canopy solution perfectly suited to your school’s needs. Whether you want to discuss your requirements in detail or simply have a friendly chat about your options, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team

If you’re ready to get the ball rolling, you can also request a free site survey simply by filling in the contact form.