Education Buildings Scotland Conference 2019 – Reflections

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The focus of the 2019 Education Buildings Scotland conference was the Learning Estate Strategy, and the ambition to ‘connect people, place and learning’. This summary note was drawn together by Architecture & Design Scotland as a reflection of themes discussed in sessions across the two days.

A global 21st century challenge that keynote speaker Lene Jensby Lange observes is “we have too many young people leaving school not knowing what they’re good at. They have learned that they’re not good learners. This is a tragedy”. We need new ecosystems of learning and spaces where everyone can be the best they can be.

“You can’t empower people” advised John Loughton in his powerful closing keynote. “You build the conditions for people to empower themselves”. His message was simple: be clear on the ‘why’ of your decision making, the purpose of your action, and how this really supports and includes the voice and needs of all young people in shaping future spaces.

Inclusion formed a key focus of Cabinet Secretary John Swinney’s speech. He emphasised the defining mission of the Scottish Government to enable children living in poverty in Scotland achieve their potential, by working with the teaching profession to close the poverty-related attainment gap. “Just as we design learning that will help all pupils to fulfil their potential, we want to design and provide spaces which provide for a wider variety of learning contexts and experiences.”

Education Buildings Scotland Conference – Session Summaries

The summary note reflects the sessions which in turn look at the five key themes of the Learning Estate Strategy.


“The measure of whether a school is fit for the purpose of delivering the education curriculum.” [Core Fact]


“The learning estate should be well-managed and maintained, making the best of existing resources, maximising occupancy and representing and delivering best value”  [Learning Estate Strategy, Principle 3]

Low Carbon

“The Scottish Government has an ambitious climate change policy target for all buildings in Scotland to be near zero carbon by 2050”
[Learning Estate Strategy]


“Learning environments should be greener, more sustainable, allow safe and accessible routes for walking, cycling and wheeling and be digitally enabled” [Learning Estate Strategy, Principle 6]

Inclusive Growth

“Investment in Scotland’s learning estate should contribute towards improving learning outcomes and support sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”[Learning Estate Strategy, Principle 10]

Smarter Places

Learn more about our work across the learning estate and our collaboration with local authorities to regenerate spaces for learning, by design.

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