Expanding opportunities for people in Scotland to succeed from nurture through to lifelong learning is a key strategic vision and helping children, young people and learners of all ages to reach their full potential is critical.
The learning estate plays an important role in supporting this ambition. Since 2007, the Scottish Government and local authorities across Scotland have collectively invested around £5bn improving Scotland’s Learning Estate.
In 2009 the Scottish Government and CoSLA published a joint School Estate Strategy: Building Better Schools. Since then, collectively, we have made great progress in improving the condition of our school estate. In 2018, for the first time, more than 600,000 pupils across Scotland were being educated in schools in good or satisfactory condition.
In our colleges and universities, we have invested in new campuses and buildings and have seen the development of facilities which support the learning needs of students and the economy and deliver on our ambitions for carbon reduction.
These schools, colleges and universities aren’t only better because they are in better condition. They are better because they enrich the learner journey. By supporting curricular delivery, fostering relationships with the wider community, linking with other public services, embracing the opportunities through digital technology and, importantly, encouraging parental involvement, these facilities contribute to our national success.
In 2015 the Scottish Government set out a commitment to almost double the funded Early Learning and Childcare entitlement. In 2018, a significant funding package was agreed with CoSLA to deliver a high quality expansion of our Early learning and Childcare estate. That expansion is now underway and delivery modern state of the art facilities for generations to come.
As we reflect on our successes and look ahead we must continue to ensure that we maximise the benefits of working together.
In 2018, in the Year of Young People, the Scottish Government set out its intention to jointly publish a Learning Estate Strategy, co-produced with CoSLA and other partners, to set out a joint vision for our learning estate of the future. This strategy is the culmination of that work. By connecting people, places and learning, be that physically, digitally, through practice or communication, collectively we will ensure that all of our learners are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to reach their full potential.
By placing the whole learning estate at the heart of meeting the needs of Scotland’s communities, learners and businesses and adopting a more integrated approach, we will improve the outcomes for all of our learners and enable sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
We look forward to working with our wide range of partners to implement this strategy.
John Swinney MSP
Deputy First Minister
and Cabinet Secretary
for Education and Skills
Cllr Stephen McCabe
and Young People Spokesperson