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An overhead shot of the aluminium canopy at Springwell School

Five things to consider when deciding on your school canopy

By: Oli Birch Category: CanopiesExternal Solutions

Choosing a canopy for your school may seem like a simple decision on the surface. But if you want to fully maximise the outside space available, there are a host of things to consider.

Our Exterior Solutions Specialist, Michael Denyer, identifies five key things you should bear in mind when deciding on an external shelter for your school:

  • Materials
  • Drainage
  • Post location
  • Modular or bespoke
  • Canopy type


Each material has its pros and cons. Timber looks great but needs a lot of maintenance, whereas steel can rust. Aluminium is easy to install and incredibly durable, but may not have the eye-catching appeal of timber. However, aluminium can be powder coated to colour match the surrounding environment to improve the aesthetic appeal.

As for the roof, glass is timeless and provides an excellent view to the outside. Polycarbonate, meanwhile, is more durable than glass, and comes in a wide range of colours and styles as you can see below. We discuss the similarities and differences between the two options in greater detail here.

Riverwalk school canopy with a multi-coloured polycarbonate roof


Failure to take into account how the structure connects to underground drainage is the most common omission.

We recommend that schools opt for a canopy that has integral gutters and downpipes as opposed to surface mounted gutters. Not only does this give the canopy a smart and sleek finish, but it’s also a much more durable option. We compare the two options in a separate blog here.

Post location

Another factor that is often overlooked is the location of the posts.

Ensuring your school canopy avoids posts clashing with opening doors or windows is crucial to avoid damage to the frame, school property and to create a safe space for pupils.

That’s why we offer a free on-site survey to assess the site and prevent this problem from occurring.

Tolworth School Canopy

Modular or bespoke

Many schools fear they will need a bespoke structure when considering a canopy, which can often increase the cost. And while all of the projects we work on are bespoke to each client, modular aluminium frames can be adjusted to suit most situations, meaning you may need to spend less than you think.

Insist on checking that the canopy you choose is certified BS EN 1090, as it’s a legal requirement for the public sector. All of our canopies have this accreditation.

Canopy type

Lastly, choosing the right type of canopy for your school is crucial if you want to fully maximise the space available.

Free-standing canopies are an excellent option for schools looking to create an sheltered seating area in a playground or a covered walkway between buildings.

Lean-to canopies, meanwhile, a fixed directly to the external wall and therefore provide excellent protection from rain and glare from the sun. We can help to assess what canopy would best suit your school as part of the survey.


Ensuring you discuss all five of these areas before deciding on your school canopy is crucial if you want to get the most of your outside space.

If you’d like to discuss a canopy for your school, please contact us here and we’ll happily assist with each step from the design stage through to installation.

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