People, Place and Learning: Scotland’s Learning Estates 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.

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 picks up on 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. All through campus developments, learning town developments and collaborative learning communities are all potential built environment responses.

Participation and Placemaking

Critical to the process of deciding what to connect, how to connect, and what form the connected built form should take is the conversation on need and ambition. At Architecture and Design Scotland, our commitment is to support these conversations through participation methods by learners and teachers, and 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.

How A&DS supports the Learning Estate Strategy

Our aim is to help co-design learning environments with learners, teachers and communities to connect, enhance and extend learning experiences, support communities and strengthen placemaking. 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.

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.


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.

Blog: 5Rights – Amy Chalmers

A&DS asked a number of young people to share their experience of co-design - here Amy Chalmers writes about rights in the digital world.

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