Smarter Places

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Who We Are

Drawing from our years of experience of working across the learning estate, we collaborate with local authorities to regenerate space for learning, by design.

Our focus is on facilitating ‘space to succeed’, for all learners. We work to these principles derived from policy drivers, and in collaboration with learners, educators and estates practitioners:

  • Create places where people want to be
  • Strive for equity of access
  • Connect learners, community and services in learning spaces
  • Think about design for adaptability, informed by evidence

Read about our Schools Design Advice Service here and find out about our Tests of Change: Re-purposing Learning Space here.

What We Do

We collaborate with local authority partners to unlock problems and potential in the learning estate by design.

  • Our process is to encourage early participation and engagement to identify learners and teaching needs;
  • Collaboration with decision makers to shape the briefing, design development and assessment stages;
  • Facilitate the sharing of learning through networks, events and online resources informed by the needs of local authorities.
  • We support the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Strategy.


The Curriculum for Excellence encourages, recognises and fosters learning wherever this takes place. It recognises opportunities for learning beyond the school walls. Through our work we look at school buildings of different sizes and scales, ranging from remote schools in rural locations to community campus buildings that cater for learners of all ages in cities.

We support schools and local authorities explore different settings for learning, which can respond and adapt to new ways of teaching and learning, embracing the totality of experiences that will equip young people to meet the challenges of he 21st century. As part of our work we encourage participation to identify the learning needs and aspirations and help teachers and learners reimagine their environments as inspiring learning places.


Our support for schools is available to education authorities and schools in Scotland at no cost. We offer an external view, peer support, facilitation, learning networks and resources to facilitate change.

Examples and Inspiration – SPARK 

We have produced a range of publication, videos and articles to help inspire you and your project. Browse our website or search our online inspiration section SPARK for images and examples to illustrate your ideas.

Further Resources:




Contact Us

If you would like our support or help please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

OUR APPROACH: Providing Advice

One of our key areas of work is to provide advice on design - A&DS supports investment in homes and public buildings, and everything in between.

OUR WORK: Empowering Communities

A&DS supports communities, providing advice and support and we promote the benefits of community engagement and share examples of good work.

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