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.

Delivering the Programme for Government

In September 2017 the Scottish Government published a Programme for Government which set out the following:

  • We will take the next steps towards the near doubling of funded ELC, including setting out minimum levels of multi-year funding to deliver the expansion and provide certainty to our councils and providers.
  • We will continue to bring forward new proposals under the Scotland’s Schools for the Future Programme.
  • We will publish a new education infrastructure plan, which will set out proposals to improve the condition of existing schools within the lifetime of this Parliament and our longer-term ambitions to build more ‘2-18’* campuses and establish an estate that is world-leading in energy efficiency.
  • We will consider the findings of the college estates’ survey to plan future capital investment and set out proposals as part of an education infrastructure plan.
  • Over the course of this Parliament, we will develop a strategic framework for after school and holiday childcare, beginning by assessing the availability of existing provision and setting out what we can do to better meet the needs of families.
  • We will ensure that Gaelic medium education remains a priority in Scottish education by promoting the growth of all aspects of Gaelic medium education. In particular, we will ensure that the latest version of the National Plan for Gaelic is published in 2017. It will seek to promote the growth of Gaelic in Scotland through a broad range of actions, particularly to increase the number of Gaelic schools and promote new routes into Gaelic teacher education.
  • We will build an Active Nation, boosting investment in walking and cycling and putting
  • active travel at the heart of our transport planning. Our actions will include making our towns and cities friendlier and safer spaces for pedestrians and cyclists by increasing investment that supports active travel from £40 million to £80 million per year from 2018-19.

*Due to a change in scope, this now captures learners of all ages.

Having published the college sector estates condition survey in December 2017, having reached a funding agreement to deliver the ELC expansion programme in May 2018, having announced a further £1bn of planned Scottish Government investment in the school estate in November 2018, and with the recent introduction of the University Financial Transactions programme, the publication of this Learning Estate Strategy is the next step in taking forward these commitments.

Historically, decisions about investment in the learning estate have been carried out through separate portfolios in Scottish Government (as set out in Figure 1). This strategy seeks to aid coherency and consider the learning estate as a whole (as set out in Figure ii) to ensure that we support joint delivery of joint outcomes founded upon:

  • a joined-up approach to investment
  • consistent application of the guiding principles
  • collaborative working
  • learning from and building on the successes of recent education investment
  • contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic growth

50% of pupils walk, cycle or scoot to school with 25% travelling by bus. Of the remaining 25%, 7% are pupils with special needs travelling by motorised transport and 16% are taken to school by car on the grounds of personal safety.

Fig.i Historic Position

Fig.i Historic Position

Fig.ii Future Position

A more holistic approach to support our learning estate

Fig.ii Future Position

The learning estate is a community asset which can support the achievement of improved community outcomes. Investment in the estate should support both the strategic local context, including locality planning, public service reform, creating permeable places that encourage walking, cycling and wheeling, collaboration and strategic asset management, and the economic context, by setting out how the learning estate can support regional or national employers’ needs. Investment can be transformational and should contribute to improving outcomes for individuals and communities in line with the National Performance Framework. The learning estate is more than a physical asset and this strategy recognises the importance of digital transformation across Scotland, looking to harness the benefits it can bring to all learners when taking the learning estate forward into the future. The Hands up Scotland annual census of how pupils travel to school records that 50% walk, cycle or scoot with 25% travelling by bus. Of the remaining 25%, 7% are pupils with special needs travelling by motorised transport and 16% are taken to school by car on the grounds of personal safety. The design, build and location of the school estate should encourage parents and carers confidence to allow their children to walk, cycle or scoot to school.


Email: Matthew.Rennie@gov.scot

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