Safe spaces

Want to make better use of your space, or do more to aid social distancing? Emma Griffin profiles products that can add flexibility to learning and play areas – and keep everyone safe

TG Escapes eco-buildings

For schools needing new buildings quickly, cheaply and with minimal disruption, TG Escapes offers a range of calming and tranquil learning environments. The company can install timber-frame eco-buildings that enhance wellbeing by following biophilic design principles. This means they maximise healthy interior air quality, provide views and access to the outdoors and maximise natural light. The off-site modular construction process means smaller buildings can be completed on site in as little as six weeks. From single classrooms or breakout rooms to chapels, canteens, sports pavilions and arts spaces, all buildings are completed to an A+ energy rating using sustainable materials.

‘We needed extra space to develop our teacher-training programme and to provide additional classroom space for our students. Our TG Escapes eco-building provides us with four classrooms and a large conference room, as well as much-needed office space as we grow our multi-academy trust. We looked at a variety of solutions and felt that the TG Escapes offer was the best in terms of the look, longevity and affordability of the building. We were intrigued by TG Escapes’ different approach to learning environments and, after visiting their other projects, we were blown away. Pupils love learning in the “eco-build”; it is a calm and quiet building, with a great feel to it.’

Lee Alexander, head of finance, Shotton Hall Academy, Peterlee, County Durham

Fun & Active Playgrounds

This independent provider of playground markings has developed a new social distancing range. The clear and colourful social distance markers will help ensure that schools have the highest Covid safety measures throughout their premises. Bold markers can assist in directing pupils through one-way systems across the school, while footprint markers can ensure everyone keeps a safe distance. All markings are made from preformed thermoplastic, which is extremely durable and anti-slip – ideal for use in high-footfall areas. The material is also non-toxic and environmentally friendly, and has a high UV resistance, meaning colours won’t fade. Schools can customise the reversible colour combinations or add smaller arrows or dots if required. Fun & Active Playgrounds has implemented new processes that will ensure the safety of staff and school children by adhering to Covid-secure health and safety measures during installation.

‘From start to finish, the team provided excellent, professional support to our school. They listened to our initial ideas and supported us to develop a solution that fitted our budget and needs perfectly. The installation team were friendly, and fitted to a difficult Covid-safe timetable that limited their access to our site. They were nothing less than fantastic! We would highly recommend Fun & Active.’

Rebecca Fullick, headteacher, Northern Federation Infants School, Fareham, Hampshire


Using expert craftspeople, TeacherBoards has been manufacturing and distributing notice boards and presentation solutions to educational institutions for more than 30 years. The company offers a wide range of products to help schools create physical partitions in work zones or classrooms. Its range is ideally suited to creating pods or zones for children to learn within, while keeping the classroom environment bright, cheerful and productive. Many products in the Covid Compliance range are made using Sundeala FR Board, a recycled and recyclable material that is shown to be 100% coronavirus-free less than five minutes after infection. Other products in the Covid Compliance range include safe push doorplates, protective wall cladding and safety screens. TeacherBoards can create a tailored solution for your school, and all boards are made and finished by hand. Across the broader product range, schools have a huge range of options, from simple felt boards to complicated tamper-proofs, and a selection of fabrics. The in-house installation team offer an end-to-end service – from site visits to measuring and assessing room requirements, through to fitting and finishing.

‘Due to the Covid-19 situation, we had to create a temporary classroom within our school hall. The screens enabled us to successfully partition an area, with the advantage that we will be able to re-utilise them as display boards in other areas of the school at a later date.’

Sarah Riley, bursar, Baldwins Gate CE(VC) Primary School, Newcastle-Under-Lyme

ArcCan Canopies

These shelters and canopies provide year-round protection from sun and rain, whether used as a walkway between classrooms, an entrance canopy or an outdoor classroom. They can also become a refectory or theatre, a play shade or a parent waiting area. The need to provide UV-filtering shelters for schoolchildren has been recognised for some time, and Ofsted has recommended that all schools have shaded areas in their playgrounds. ArcCan’s shades allow healthy outdoor activities to be carried out in a safer environment, dramatically reducing exposure to harmful UV radiation. With social distancing now a necessity extending beyond the short term, permanent shade structures are a versatile and practical option for any outdoor space. ArcCan has a wide range of pre-engineered structures that are fully adaptable to suit individual needs, and its design department can also create bespoke structures. The company offers a complete package, from design through to manufacture, installation and aftercare, with standard models available for delivery within a few weeks. The company has worked with many schools across the south of England, including a recent project to install a new playground canopy in Hampshire.

‘We were approached by Portsmouth City Council to design, supply and fit a playground canopy at Cliffdale Primary Academy in Portsmouth. Having previously installed a series of seven “Curzon” sail canopies in 2017, we knew the site well and were delighted to return for a second time. The brief this time was for a shade that was 6m x 6m in size, while keeping the area underneath clear of any posts. Our solution was a tensile fabric cantilevered umbrella – a pre-designed “Aintree” structure. We were pleased to be part of the development and now the school can be confident that it is maximising outdoor learning, play and socialising zones.’

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