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School Infrastructure Unit
Learning Directorate
The Scottish Government
Area 2A South
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ

Design Guidance

Architcture and Design Scotland Schools Programme

The Scottish Government funds the Architecture and Design Scotland Schools Programme, which provides advice and guidance for and collaborates with local authorities to make it easier to match aspirations with delivery, and to remove some of the barriers to getting the schools everyone wants. This includes work on key topics such as more focused educational briefing, more meaningful learner participation, more modernisation from refurbishment, and more sharing of good practice. The programme is hosted on smarterplaces.org.uk


In addition to the main school estate strategy publications, the Scottish Government, in collaboration with those involved in school design, has produced a range of documents to help promote well-designed schools. These publications are ordered by the year in which they were published.

Hard copies of these publications can be requested by emailing schoolestate@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

  Title Year Description
School Estate

Building Excellence


The Scottish Government ran a programme of events during 2007 to explore the implications of Curriculum for Excellence for the design of new or refurbished schools and for the design and use of space in existing schools. The main messages from the programme so far are captured in the Building Excellence publication which is a resource for school managers, teachers and designers.

School Estate School Design: Optimising the internal environment 2007 Guidance for local authorities on internal environmental conditions in schools. This guidance covers internal air quality ( IAQ), heating, ventilation and acoustics in school buildings. The document suggests ways in which local authorities might consider improving internal environmental comfort to create better learning and teaching environments.
School Estate Senses of Place 2006

Produced in connection with the Senses of Place conference held on May 25, 2006, in collaboration with The Lighthouse. Articles examine the interaction between different factors and user groups in school design, covering such diverse areas as outdoor spaces, historical factors, artistic involvement, community issues and school furnishings. The overall theme running through the magazine is the relationship between individual and collective senses of ownership and place, and the design of physical spaces.

School Estate Post Occupancy Evaluation Workshop 2005 Developments and experiences of schools evaluation with local authorities.
School Estate Post Occupancy Evaluation - Braes High School, Falkirk 2005 The Scottish Executive commissioned Chris Watson to undertake a demonstration evaluation of Braes High School in Falkirk. The exercise involved interviews with groups of stakeholders (including staff, pupils, managers, council officials and community users) to seek their views about what was good, and what was not so good, about their school building.
School Estate Research on acoustic design in Scottish primary schools 2005 This research report is being made available on line in order to provide access to its contents for those interested in the subject. The Scottish Executive commissioned the research but has not exercised editorial control over the report. The views expressed in the report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Scottish Executive or any other organisation (this document is only available in PDF format).

School Estate

Design and Construction of Sustainable Schools Volume 1


The books present the findings from two recent study tours, arranged by Gaia Group, to a number of sustainable school buildings in Norway and Germany. The first volume describes the individual schools visited. The publication was commissioned by the Scottish Executive - produced in partnership with The Lighthouse and Gaia Group (this document is only available in PDF format).

School Estate

Design and Construction of Sustainable Schools Volume 2


The second volume looks at a number of wider issues that arose from visits and discussion during the study tours (this document is only available in PDF format).

School Estate Sustainability 2004 Outlines the principles to consider and the process to follow, in order to achieve a sustainable school.