DECADE: Space to Succeed – Outcomes

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On 24 September A&DS hosted a conversation on “Space to Succeed’ as part of the DECADE – 10 years of A&DS series. The focus was on learning spaces, making more of what we have and creating future opportunities.

The 50 participants from the education, property/estates and design sectors faced a provocation which was laid by Andrew Sutherland, Director of Education at North Lanarkshire, around attainment and workforce challenges and the role of space/place in shaping educational outcomes.

Presentations exploring these matters – from Angela Edwards, Head of Inclusive learning in Inverclyde, Keith Smyth, Professor of Pedagogy at UHI, Ian Stuart who is leading Glow and the digital consultation at SG, Ciaran Bauer from Bridge 21 in Dublin focusing on STEM, digital and social spaces; and Maggie Barlow on innovation in spatial design for learning – supported the discussion which followed on how we deliver and improve learning spaces.

Four themes emerged from the discussion:

1. We need to make all learning spaces ‘places where people want to be’, across the existing estate and in future investment

2. An important element to support this is equity and access for all, which may be facilitated by brining the local community into school buildings, delivering more services through schools, and integrating digital culture in the use of space

3. We need to think about ‘support for the terrified’ and empower people working in education; help those who need encouragement and support with new ways of working and new ways of using space to embrace change

4. We need a framework for continuous evaluation that will support innovation and adaptability. How do we know what has been designed works, and how do we design to adapt?

A key focus emerged around integration, of learning with the community, and across services. This drove a discussion around:

(a) investing the right amount of time at the right time to get the brief right

(b) co-producing the brief. The school as an integrated civic facility should be led by a range of stakeholders.

Videos from the event are available on our resources section (search for Space to Succeed) and a document featuring reflections by the speakers is available here.


As Architecture and Design Scotland celebrates its 10th year in 2015 DECADE is a series a series of talks on architecture in Scotland which will...

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