So you’ve decided to go ahead and put forward your case for a school canopy to the decision-makers – what should you include in your written document? Here is everything you should outline to present the benefits of your suggested canopy purchase, making clear the financial outlay and avoiding any surprises further down the line.
You’ve already concluded that there are numerous benefits to purchasing a school canopy. At this stage, you need to present your idea to those who can set the wheels in motion. Ensure that the outdoor teaching element is written into the scheme of work, as this will show how a canopy can aid the curriculum. You will also need to create a plan for maintenance, so that there is clarity around all required costs. Education canopies require little upkeep, so an outline of this will help to demonstrate their value. Any MOTs and cleaning will be occasional services which should be offered by your canopy provider.
Also factor in play and behaviour policies, and how a canopy fits into the provision for outdoor play. The ability to teach in a much more practical way will be particularly valuable for certain groups, e.g. children with special needs. Outdoor space can also allow for bigger class sizes and house facilities to store equipment. The previous document will help to assist your case for the canopy being beneficial to children’s leisure time, as well as studying.
You will need to provide an overview of the longevity and durability of the canopy, as this will indicate the limited financial requirements once the initial purchase has been made. Factor in other benefits which will impact positively on the decision, such as removing the need for spend on additional building space.
As well as outlining the benefits, the practicalities of installing an education canopy will need to be made clear in order to aid the decision-making process. Depending on the type of canopy your school will be purchasing, the required size and style will need to be agreed, which will then impact the cost. You may need to find out if there is a budget in place, which will determine the type of canopy that can be acquired; otherwise, you could present a number of options for differing budgets. The decision-making process should also be recorded so that that every stage can be referred to by any involved parties.
Setting out potential prices may well involve meeting with suppliers to get an idea of your options; you might also wish to meet with teachers (and potentially pupils) to see what they would be looking to gain from the installation of an education canopy. The process will also be helped along by specifying dates for approval, which will help you plan the next stage of beginning to put everything into action.
There are other considerations to be made too, such as whether the extra classroom space gained from a canopy will require additional teaching staff. The most important thing is to demonstrate that the outlay of this purchase will not exceed the amount of return it will generate.
Your business case for a canopy will need to include examples of other schools that have successfully purchased and implemented an education canopy, detailing what they gained from it. This will form a crucial part of demonstrating their effectiveness and value to those signing off the expenditure, while you may also wish to consult those schools on any queries surrounding the process itself.
Try to find schools whose needs were similar to your own, how they set about securing finance and support, and how much benefit they have seen from their purchase since. Any supporting data would help your cause greatly, such as improved exam results or behaviour reports.
A crucial part of determining financial outlay will be to ascertain whether there are schemes in place to cover the cost of your canopy purchase. This may depend on the reason you are purchasing the canopy; for example, if you decide on a sports spectator canopy, this could be subsidised by a government grant for PE and sports. The Department for Education has outlined in detail its initiative to help provide more places for children in schools.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of the various types of funding available to your school, how much of this funding has been used in the past and how much the funding sources are projected to change in the coming years.
To summarise, here is the key information to include in your business case:
Next, find out how to establish whole-life cost in order to determine the full value of your canopy purchase. If you’d like to book a free survey of your school building, simply request an appointment here.