Thistley Hough Academy, Stoke on Trent - Outdoor Dining Canopy

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Client Background

Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Thistley Hough Academy is a secondary school that serves almost 1000 students, and recently had a new school dining canopy installed by Kensington Systems.

Click here to find out more about the Thistley Hough Academy.

What Was the Challenge?

The UK-wide need for increased secondary school places is apparent across all counties. The number of school-aged children has risen to the point that educational facilities are under pressure to offer additional school places. By 2024, there will be more than 3.2 million secondary school-aged students, an increase of more than 100,000 students versus 2022¹ figures. Often, the biggest constraint is on dining space. The government recommends a minimum of 0.9sqm per student, and indoor dining facilities may already be bursting at the seams.

However, as with all public sector schools, tight budgets mean that investment in building extensions is often not an option in the short term.

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Understanding that their current dining spaces were inadequate for the increasing number of students needing to use them, the Creative Education Trust approached us to find a canopy solution.

The goal was to expand the functional outdoor dining space with a robust, weather-resistant solution that would stand the test of time.

What Were the Determining Factors Within This Project Scope?

Time – The project needed to be completed before the increased number of pupils joined at the start of the academic year. To allow outdoor dining to take place all year round,  the canopy was essential for providing protection during all weather.

Budget – It was agreed that value for money was more important in the form of a solution offering protection for years. The pricing had to be competitive, but the result’s quality was paramount.

Service Levels – The Creative Education Trust and Thistley Hough Academy were also seeking advice from our expert knowledge team. When investing in school property, the product must be perfect. We offered a free, no-obligation site survey, allowing us to provide a more accurate quote taking the school’s unique circumstances into account.

The Solution

To create an outdoor dining space, it was decided that a school canopy was the most viable option. As a result, a Spaceshade canopy and Catering Pod were installed. This created 135 sqm of weather-resistant covered dining space, which can also be used for other outdoor activities when protection is needed. This created additional space for 150 students based on the government’s requirements for each student to have 0.9 sqm of space per student in dining areas.

Offering an extension which seamlessly blends into the buildings existing aesthetic, the outdoor dining canopy featured a sturdy aluminium construction with eye-catching purple powder coating to match the school’s badge colours.

Aluminium was our material of choice as it offered a non-corrosive, low-maintenance, and highly durable option. Adding built-in downpipes and guttering also support the structure’s longevity. The safety features we offer, including certified non-fragile roofing and concealed fixings, allow the canopy to adhere to the strict safety standards that schools must comply with.

The Outcome

Thanks to the additional outdoor space now available, Thistly Hough Academy can commit to taking on more students, which equals additional funding for the school and Creative Academy Trust. This allows the trust to invest more into improving it’s schools and attracting more students long term.

Canopies for schools offer additional space that reduces the pressure on indoor areas, improving the student experience and flow of daytime activities. Whether students need protection from rainy weather or sunny days, the outdoor area and catering pod maximise the usable space.

Do You Need to Improve Outdoor Facilities to Meet Growing Student Numbers?

Do you need to increase your student intake and outdoor dining space? Contact us today to book a free, no-obligation onsite survey and explore a solution together.