Aberdeenshire Council has embarked on the process of designing and developing a new community school campus for the residents of Alford and the 500 square mile catchment area that the school serves. The future campus will comprise a new nursery, primary and academy and house numerous new community facilities.
Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS) supports the Scottish Government’s current School Estates Strategy, Building Better Schools: Investing in Scotland’s Future which states as its first guiding principle that:
Good consultation means better outcomes – engaging with, consulting and involving all the potential users and interests helps to highlight expectations, identify the options and refine the objectives.
In accordance with this principle, the A+DS Schools Programme has been working alongside a wide group of users of the current school and community facilities with the aim of engaging them in the design of the campus and enabling them to have a considered and meaningful input into the participation process.
As well as a method for helping to effectively achieve learning environments, which meet the needs of the new Curriculum for Excellence, the process is also a vehicle through which Curriculum for Excellence can be delivered.
The participant group consists of 35 users including students, teachers, non-teaching staff, community learning and development, social work and community group members.
The Phase 1 workshops, completed in September 2009 involved three, one-day sessions, which allowed the user group to consider their current provision, communicate their aspirations and set priorities for the future campus as a group. See the consultation storyboard for more details of the day.
The outputs from this first phase of the process included a qualitative brief describing the users’ perfect day at the Alford Campus and a list of the top five priorities for the Campus. These were presented to the stakeholder group, Aberdeenshire Council as well as the project architects, Halliday Fraser Munro (HFM). HFM then incorporated this information into their designs for the concept stage plans of the new campus.