A new Schools Estate Strategy for Scotland was recently announced. The publication is entitled ‘Building Better Schools: Investing in Scotland’s Future‘.
So, where does design feature in this significant statement? The answer is that the importance of good design is acknowledged throughout the document, and is embedded in the nine guiding principles which form the foundations of the strategy. These are important, and worth listing:
- Good consultation means better outcomes.
- Innovative design and change is better informed by experience.
- A more integrated, holistic and longer term approach to change.
- Schools whose condition supports and enhances their functions.
- More suitable and inclusive schools, better future-proofed for flexibility and adaptability.
- Schools which are greener, more sustainable and environmentally efficient.
- A well managed school estate which represents and delivers best value.
- Schools which both drive and support effective learning and teaching.
- Schools which best serve their communities.
However, the Strategy also emphasises that these must be seen in the context of the Concordat between the Scottish Government and all 32 local authorities. This means that the way in which these principles manifest themselves in the future school estate will be a reflection of the circumstances of the communities they serve.
And good design will be crucial in making all of this happen. Indeed design provides us with a unique tool to architecturally dovetail what local people need with the agreed priorities for Scotland. Design is not an option: design is the way we do things now.
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