Leaving Space to Share Control – Blogs by Young Scot

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Co-Design: A key ambition of the Curriculum for Excellence is to create the conditions for all young people to be ‘confident contributors’. This is about more than asking people to get involved. Or telling them. It is about understanding the conditions that motivates a learner to participate and the opportunities for participation that exist in our learning communities. We need to leave space for people to find their own way of contributing to the life of the community. That is about building space, leaving room for participation and sharing control.


A key dimension of contributing confidently is leadership,. This includes personal leadership of your own decision making and leadership in relation to others.

Leaving space for people to contribute to the way the Curriculum is designed, or the values and ethos of a learning community are agreed, or the way Building a and spaces are designed provide two things. First is data to inform decision making. Second is opportunities for personal leadership and development.
Building personal leadership is a function of well-being. Well-being is the foundation of learning.

Blogs by Young People

This blog series looks at how young people with Young Scot are making space for wellbeing in different spaces and places across Scotland. The blogs both describe young people needs around participation, and the spaces they need; and they describe the value of leaving space for young people’s participation.

Volunteering During Year of Young People – Ross Cowan

Youth Commission on Mental Health Services – Neva Brown

5Rights – Amy Chalmers


Reflecting on the insights of young people in these blogs, we can draw out a number of considerations for the learning estate:

  1. Creating the conditions for positive mental health and well-being experiences with young people matters. Their insights can inform where and how services are integrated and the different experiences that can be created to make accessing services easier.
  2. Understanding the conditions for participating in different spaces matter. Young people have rights in real and digital spaces and seek to co-design the experiences and frameworks for participation in these spaces to keep them safe and open opportunities.
  3. Enabling young people in building space and changing spaces is a positive way of providing positive feedback and validation.
  4. Young people participation in the design process is valueable because it provides user testing early in the investment cycle using a mix of rich primary and secondary data drawn from young peoples direct experiences.
  5. Being mindful of the wider benefits of young people participation is important. Young people may use these experiences to grow confidence, inform career choices, build support.

How we can help

Architecture and Design Scotland supports engagement with young people in design as a tool for decision making in the learning estate in three ways:

Design advice
Engaging with learners, teachers and communities to shape priorities for design at the briefing stage
Tests of Change
Engaging with school leadership to test new ways of practice to get more out of spaces
Engaging with service providers and communities in places on the opportunities for collaboration

Our focus is on the learner at the heart of the discussion about what’s possible to enhance and extend their learning experience. Our interest is to make more of all the learning spaces available to young people through creative thinking, and innovative design. Our best learning comes from working with learners. We welcome the opportunity to work with you, and our young people to shape better learning experiences in better places with better design.

About Young Scot

Young Scot is the national youth information and citizenship charity for Scotland, and currently has a membership of over 700,000 young people across Scotland.

For over 30 years we have been providing young people aged 11-26 with information, ideas and access to opportunities to help them make the most of their lives, particularly at times of transition. We also manage the Young Scot card, which gives all young people access to great discounts, opportunities, and much more.

Young Scot’s Co-design team have been involving young people for 6 years in these processes encouraging organisations and communities to adopt a more collaborative culture, focusing resources to effectively meet the needs of individuals and communities.

Our co-design service involves young people systematically creating, designing and delivering solutions in collaboration with organisations. Young people are involved much earlier in decision making process through a highly participative approach developing informed insights, ideas, recommendations and solutions for policy and practice.

We work with young people to make Scotland an even better place for all young people to grow up, and we’d like to introduce three amazing young people to tell us how that happens.

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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