People, Place and Learning: Scotland’s Learning Estate Strategy

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Architecture and Design Scotland is delighted to support the Learning Estate Strategy [LES], and the ambition to improve outcomes for communities by Connecting People, Place and Learning through the learning estate.

Architecture and Design Scotland is delighted to support the Learning Estate Strategy [LES], and the ambition to improve outcomes for communities by Connecting People, Place and Learning through the learning estate. A&DS supports the Scottish Government  and works with the Scottish Futures Trust to help local authorities shape design proposals for the learning estate across Scotland.

The Learning Estate Strategy responds to three key issues for learning in Scotland:

  • First, equity and excellence is the foundation for improving all education investment in Scotland. The LES develops this ambition to ensure every learner has the opportunity to be the best they can be.
  • Second, managing the transition between learning experiences and making the learner journey easier for all learners, and their different needs. Connecting learning experiences, and providing the continuity of relationships and settings across a learner’s journey ensures every learner has the best chance of success.
  • Third, more and diverse community connections mean learners have more opportunities for learning and work on vocational and academic pathways. It allows communities to be part of the learning community, with more joined-up support in more supportive settings.


‘Connection’ is a key theme of the Learning Estate Strategy. Creating more joined-up lifelong learning experiences for all learners will look different in different places. However, the intention to connect opportunities and improve outcomes will be consistent in all places. Service design, community development and the design of learning experiences will form a key element of the process of creating more joined-up experiences. Above all the report proposes built environment responses such as campus developments, learning town developments and collaborative learning communities.

Participation and Placemaking

We need conversations on need and ambition. This is critical to the process of deciding what to connect, how to connect, and what form the connected built form should take. At Architecture & Design Scotland, we support these conversations through participation methods by learners and teachers. Furthermore, we  link the outcomes of these conversations to collaboration by service providers and decisionmakers. Our advice builds on the 5 stages of shaping learning environments set out in the Inspiring Learning Spaces Toolkit, which was developed with Scottish Futures Trust.

How A&DS supports the Learning Estate Strategy

We help co-design learning environments with learners, teachers and communities. Our purpose is to connect, enhance and extend learning experiences, support communities and strengthen placemaking. And our support for schools is available to education authorities, national partners and schools in Scotland at no cost. We offer an external view, peer support, facilitation, learning networks and resources to facilitate change. We work closely with Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust to share learning, co-ordinate advice and support local authorities.

Our services focus on:

  • User and stakeholder engagement to put the learner and teacher voice at the heart of design briefing and decisions. We do this through our Design Advice for Schools Service.
  • ‘Try before you buy’ models to supporting the preparation for new ways of working in new types and models of space. We do this through our Tests of Change Service.
  • Placemaking to connect people, place and learning and meet the ambitions of the low carbon agenda. We do this through our Advice on Infrastructure and Public Space.
  • Facilitate the sharing of learning through networks, events and online resources informed by the needs of local authorities. We do this through our Public Sector Client Forum.

We are here to help – our support us offered in collaboration with the Scottish Government Learning Directorate and the Scottish Futures Trust.

20 Inspiring Learning Spaces

A leaflet summarising the learning from 20 individual Inspiring Please Spaces projects, supporting the Inspiring Learning Spaces publication.

SERVICE: Design Advice for Schools

A&DS offers a design support to education authorities offering an external view, peer support, facilitation and learning networks.

Learner Journey Case Study

Architecture and Design Scotland works with schools across the country. Our focus is to help explore and test ideas for new and existing spaces.

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