Glebe School in Kent Add Fabric Umbrella Canopy To Their Playground

Staff at Glebe School in Kent recognised a need to add vital rain and wind protection to their playground seating area so that they could encourage their students to spend more time outside in all seasons - especially when it's raining. But they were looking for a 'budget-friendly' solution without compromising on quality.

Project Specification

  • Size: 4000mm x 4000mm
  • Steelwork:
    • Grey - RAL NO.9007

  • Fabric:
    • Midnight Blue

What was the project?

To add a long-lasting and waterproof shelter to a seating area situated in the school playground at Glebe School in Kent so that the students can spend more time outdoors in all seasons. The school required a cost-effective approach to solving the problem, and the shelter needed to be free standing and attractive.

What was the problem?

The school had an under-utilised seating area in their playground, which was perfectly adequate, but there was no protection for the students from the elements. The lack of all-season shelter over the seating area meant that it frequently wasn’t in use, particularly in the cooler seasons. The site was undesirable and impractical thanks to the British weather!

It was important for Glebe School to ensure safety, and practicality was also a priority which is why they turned to A&S Landscape who they knew could advise them professionally on the best canopy solution for their school playground and install the shelter safely.

What was our solution?

Umbrella canopy we made for Glebe SchoolThere were several ways that we could solve this problem. We could incorporate various products, specifically, canopy shades, tepee style shades, shade sails, or even a shelter with polycarbonate roofs rather than fabric roofs. However, the price and student’s safety were high priority factors that we needed to consider for this project first.

Some shelter types require four corner posts, which, while extremely long-lasting and durable can add to the project cost. The number of posts can be a consideration for some establishments like Glebe School because they take up additional space. Since the school wanted to find a cost-effective solution, an umbrella-style single post shade stood out as the best option.

Each shade within our portfolio of products incorporates high strength fabric and stylish designs. However, the Maxima Umbrella™ fabric offers an increased lifespan, which became the most practical and cost-effective option that met with the school’s budget. The material on the Maxima Umbrella™ is also available in a stylish Midnight Blue colour which, when combined with grey galvanised posts perfectly matched Glebe School’s colours and logo – that’s when this project came to life.

What product did we use?

We used the Maxima Umbrella™, a square form shade with grey galvanised steelwork and Midnight Blue waterproof heavy-duty cloth. Glebe School chose a size of 4000mm x 4000mm, even though the maximum size for this product is a massive 8000 x 8000mm. Nevertheless, the smaller sized umbrella was the perfect fit for the school’s playground allowing ample room for the school to use their seating area and stay within budget.

What was the result?

Both the staff and the students are delighted with their new playground seating area shelter. It has reignited a once forgotten area of the school playground and provided the much-needed protection allowing students to enjoy socialising with their friends at school without getting wet.

Why we should be allowing children with SEBD needs to access the outdoors regularly

It is essential to recognise the broader needs of every young person whether they are in a mainstream school or a special school, but it is so pivotal to understand the personal and emotional needs of a young person. As teachers, we are accountable for preparing children for their next step, be that higher education, training or finding a job. We have to teach equality and diversity not just for the expanding community that we live in, but to help our students understand that no matter what pitfalls they may have beaten in their lives, they have the same opportunities and the same capability as everyone else.

The only way to do this is to equip our students with the capability to acknowledge their own needs and individually find their own tactics to overcome their obstacles. We can only accomplish this if we have the resources that will support their development.

Read our blog to learn more about how young people with SEBD needs are effected by open space.

A little bit about the client …

Glebe School’s motto is ‘we believe we can’, a heart-warming message for any school to pass onto their children. But when you realise that Glebe school is a special school for students aged 11-19 who have diverse needs like autism and have Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP), that motto takes on a whole new meaning. The school’s main aim is to help students succeed in dealing effectively with any obstacles to learning and help students gain the skills necessary to lead as independent as possible life – socialising plays a huge role.

The staff’s efforts to ensure that their students have an outdoor space to socialise and even study occasionally is testimony to their efforts at supporting their students in all situations possible, and it was a pleasure to work with them.

What is an Umbrella Canopy?

Shade sail we fitted at Ashcott Playing FieldsMaxima is the name of a commercial-grade product exclusive to A&S Landscape; it’s a popular feature in schools, public spaces and restaurants and pubs.

The Maxima Umbrella™ is stylish, but it’s also incredibly functional with the ability to cover a large seating area, while supported by only one centre pole. It’s a robust and reliable product that can stand alone or in a group to provide shelter for a more extensive seating or dining area. This product also comes with plenty of colour options, with 40 fabric colours currently available and 13 colour options for the frames.

Why are canopies so good for special secondary schools?

It’s frequently cited in numerous studies that children on the autistic spectrum benefit from spending more time outdoors, furthermore, learning outdoors and socialisation provides a better environment for helping children learn. The sounds, scents and experiences with nature seem to ignite memory and encourage recall.

So if a school like Glebe School install a canopy, they are taking a step towards optimising the learning environment and social experiences that all children are so often starved of, but are crucial to those with special educational needs.

How A&S Landscape can help you

Our canopies are bespoke designs and as Glebe School demonstrated there’s an option or configuration to help you solve any problems you experience within your school or establishment – we’ve seen them all!. We can also solve other issues common in schools like the need for additional or larger classrooms or sports facilities and space-saving solutions.

All A&S Landscape products are high quality featuring galvanised steel frames available in various coloured finishes and come with options for different colour fabric or polycarbonate roofs. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our products, or client testimonials. And don’t forget to get in touch with us!

Even if you can’t find a solution, we probably can, and as we’ve demonstrated with this project, even if you have a budget, we will find a solution that exceeds your expectations. That’s because we have plenty of years of experience in designing and installing canopies for all kinds of needs from something as small as a Maxima Umbrella or one small bike shelter through to a fully operational outdoor classroom or dining or even a forest school or sports canopy.

There are no limits when it comes to finding shelter solutions for your school.

The best way to get started is to speak to us – we’re a friendly bunch who are more than willing to listen to your requirements and help you figure out a long-lasting solution that perfectly suits your needs.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you find the right outdoor shelter, get in touch with our team on 01743 444100 or at [email protected].

Read about more of our projects based in Kent

Playground Umbrella Made for All Faiths Children’s Academy

A&S designed a playground umbrella at All Faiths Children’s Academy Rochester, Kent. The full contract involved the supply and installation of one Maxima™ waterproof Umbrella structure supported on a single upright measuring 5000mm X 5000mm.

Haberdashers Askes Knights Academy add Straight Roof Shelter

Straight roof shelter we designed for Haberdashers Aske Knights AcademyA&S produced a straight polycarbonate roof canopy at Haberdashers Askes Knights Academy Bromley, Kent. The job involved the supply and installation of one Motiva™ monopitch straight roof canopy measuring 14250mm X 4000mm and included for our Alu-Tuff™ aluminium box profile guttering and downpipes which were coated in a matching Dura-coat™ colour finish. Supplied and installed including for all groundworks and dismantling/removal of existing canopy.

Fabric and Polycarbonate Canopies Designed for St Thomas More Primary School

We produced a straight polycarbonate roof canopy and triangle sail for St Thomas More Primary School Sheldon Road, Bexleyheath, Kent. The full contract involved the supply and installation of one Motiva™ monopitch straight roof canopy measuring 7700mm X 2250mm and included for our Alu-Tuff™ aluminium box profile guttering and downpipes which were coated in a matching Dura-coat™ colour finish.  One 7800mm X 11700mm X 7600mm Maxima™ tensile shade cloth fabric triangle sail including for all stainless steel fixtures and fittings.

Curved Roof Playground Shelter at Ethelbert Road Primary School

Canopy installed at Ethelbert Road SchoolWe built a curved roof canopy for Ethelbert Road Primary School Ethelbert Road, Faversham, Kent. The full contract involved one Motiva Duo™ duopitch curved roof canopy measuring 8000mm X 5800mm, with Alu-Tuff™ aluminium box profile guttering and downpipes in matching Dura-coat™ colour finish.

Hythe Primary School Create Outdoor Covered Area

Our team constructed a straight polycarbonate roof canopy for Hythe Primary School Hythe, Kent. The contract included the supply and installation of one Motiva™ monopitch straight roof canopy measuring 8000mm X 4000mm and included for our Alu-Tuff™ aluminium box profile guttering and downpipes in matching Dura-coat™ colour finish.

Fabric Playground Canopy Made for Westmeads Community Infant School

Our engineers designed a playground umbrella at Westmeads Community Infant School Cromwell Road Whitstable Kent Cromwell Road, Whitstable, Kent. The full contract involved the supply and installation of one Maxima™ waterproof Umbrella structure supported on a single upright measuring 6000mm X 6000mm.