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.

Learning from Earlier Education Investment Programmes

Future investment in the learning estate should be informed by learning from earlier investment programmes. In 2018, the Scotland’s Schools for the Future (SSF) Programme published an Interim Findings Report which draws out findings from more than 100 school projects.

Lessons learned from recent investment in the college sector will also be used to inform development activity. Much of this knowledge is transferrable across the sectors. Annex B sets out themes to consider to build on these lessons learned.

Pilot projects have been utilised across the SSF programme to develop, demonstrate and disseminate thinking. In other words, learning by doing.

The Lasswade Centre in Midlothian was part of a pilot project along with Eastwood High School in East Renfrewshire that saw two local authorities work together to jointly procure both schools in a £65m ground-breaking collaborative initiative that saved £4m as a result of the partnership approach. This was the first time that two local authorities had come together to procure new schools. The initiative proved so successful that the collaborative model is being used by other local authorities to achieve benefits and savings across the programme.

The Lasswade Centre embraces the principle of learning at the heart of the community by offering a variety of community facilities under one roof. In 2014 the Lasswade Centre won the Best Partnership Category at the Scottish Property Awards.. Since then many other projects in the SSF programme have embraced further integration of community services, with the Loanhead Centre being named Community Development Project of the Year at the 2018 Scottish Property Awards and the Waid Campus in Fife being awarded Project of the Year at the 2018 Education Buildings Scotland Awards. These projects incorporate a wide variety of learning and community provision alongside other public sector services such as local health care.

The reference primary school developed in conjunction with East Dunbartonshire brought the principle of the pilot project approach to the primary sector. Lairdsland Primary School in Kirkintilloch sought to challenge and redefine how we think about the design of the primary estate. Lairdsland has won many awards including the prestigious Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Award and SPACES award for the Civic Building of the Year, in the Education Category. Both were awarded in 2016.

An off-road walking, cycling and wheeling route to Anderson High School in Lerwick was designed and built in a joint partnership between Shetland Islands Council and Transport Scotland, via the Community Links programme managed and delivered by Sustrans. The link was constructed before the new high school and locked-in walking and cycling to the school site.

In 2014, the Inspiring Learning Spaces (ILS) initiative was launched as part of the SSF programme. The £5m fund sought to develop low cost, high impact projects which imagined teaching and learning spaces differently. Local authorities developed a variety of spaces with some opting to trial new types of learning and teaching space to better inform the design and use of forthcoming new-build facilities. An example of this approach can be found in the new West Calder High School which, having opened in August 2018, is fully embracing the learning gained from the ILS spaces developed in the old building to inform the new design and practice. The strength of the Inspiring Learning Space initiative at West Calder High School was recognised when it won Best Inspiring Learning Space at the 2017 Education Buildings Scotland Awards.

Inspiring Learning Spaces are not limited to the confines of new school buildings. The Inspiring Learning: Space Toolkit is a useful tool to use when thinking how an inspiring learning space could be created in any educational facility.

Collaborative approaches have been undertaken to improve outcomes and deliver enhanced value for money. In the north of Scotland, for the first time ever, three local authorities shared resources and funding to deliver three new secondary school projects. Aberdeenshire Council, Moray Council and The Highland Council are delivering three secondary school projects (Inverurie Community Campus, Lossiemouth High School and Allness Academy) collaboratively using Scottish Government revenue funding support in the most efficient manner. A joint Programme Board was established with representatives from all three local authorities to provide guidance and governance to the project teams. This approach has delivered both monetary and non-monetary benefits. It allows a forum for sharing ideas, best practice and challenge between the three local authorities.

Future investment in colleges can also draw on the experience and lessons learned from previous projects in order to create high quality, sustainable learning environments attractive to learners and staff. A high quality, sustainable, digitally enabled estate is important to deliver a broad and modern curriculum.

City of Glasgow College’s new campuses were designed to offer students excellent opportunities now and into the future. The campuses are intended to adapt to the changing needs of learners with an aim to inspire learning and teaching and provide centres of excellence for specialist provision including Nautical Studies.

In 2017 work started on Forth Valley College’s new campus at Falkirk which concentrates on cutting edge facilities for science, technology, engineering, sport and healthcare. The new campus is due to open in 2020.

In recent years, project funding has been targeted at specifically-identified university projects. SFC funding has successfully levered in significant capital investment from other sources. SFC contributed to the new Ayr Campus for the University of the West of Scotland, which is being delivered in partnership with Scotland’s Rural University College. SFC also made a part contribution to the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre, which brought together industry and academia to develop solutions to challenges in enabling technologies and the low carbon economy.


Email: Matthew.Rennie@gov.scot

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