Learning estate strategy

The Learning Estate Strategy and its guiding principles provide a platform for investment in the learning estate across Scotland and set out our strategic approach for managing the learning estate.


Excellence and equity underpin the approach to delivering Scottish education. This means focusing all investment on improving outcomes for learners, communities and the economy by enhancing and extending joined up learning experiences. Central to shaping outcomes is learner participation, user engagement and evidence led practice. The learner should be at the heart of decision making in the learning estate across Scotland. Understanding the learner in their specific contexts matters to achieving the ambition of excellence and equity for all.

The refreshed National Performance Framework
puts increased wellbeing and sustainable and inclusive economic growth at its heart. These outcomes drive
the alignment of policy and investment initiatives across the public sector, to ensure all of Scotland can flourish. The National Performance Framework invites an integrated approach to achieving outcomes, from consideration of local needs and design of services through a one public sector approach, to investment
in and stewardship of assets.

Our vision is a Learning Estate which supports Excellence and Equity for All

Since 2007, the Scottish Government and local authorities across Scotland have collectively invested around £5bn in Scotland’s Learning Estate.

Working with our delivery partners Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and supported by Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS), we have invested in improving our school estate through the Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme and made a significant investment in our college estate through new build campuses and funding to improve the fabric of the college estate. Unlike colleges, universities are not part of the public sector learning estate. However, where possible, we have also invested in development of their campuses in an effort to ensure that learners at all stages have the best experience possible.

Collectively we have supported the expansion of Gaelic school provision and our commitment to investing in Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) is demonstrated through the funded ELC expansion programme. Despite the significant progress made across the estate, there
is still more to do as set out in Annex A. An overview
of current and future investment plans is also included.

Reflecting on our successes and the drive for continual improvement presents opportunities. These can be harnessed by taking a whole system place-based approach:

  • Greater focus on delivering outcomes
  • Integrating experiences and
    locality based services
  • Supporting and implementing innovation
  • Demonstrating collective leadership
  • Adopting a whole life approach

The objective of this strategy is to realise the ambitions of equity and excellence for all, by supporting the conditions for wellbeing and learning across learning stages to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Its aim is to set out the principles and priorities to drive an integrated approach to the development of the learning estate across Scotland.

The principles set out will be used to shape joined up investment planning and prioritisation across the learning estate and localities. It is also intended to outline a holistic approach to planning investment and its underlying ethos can and should be applied across other areas of the public estate where appropriate.


Email: Matthew.Rennie@gov.scot

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