We are working on delivering and managing a wide range of infrastructure and finance programmes that support Scottish Government’s National Infrastructure Mission and can inform policy ambitions for decarbonisation and inclusive growth.
We work with every local authority across Scotland to push forward Scottish Government’s Scotland's Schools for the Future programme.
Our role is to efficiently manage the programme to help local authorities achieve the very best value from their investment in new schools. This has been achieved through a process of developing, demonstrating, disseminating and the sharing best practice from across the programme.
When the programme was launched in 2009 it was valued at £1.25bn and was planned to deliver 55 new or refurbished schools.
Through collaborative working and by carefully managing the programme and its budget, we increased that number to 67 – 12 extra schools from the same budget.
Building on that success, Scottish Government increased the number of schools to 112, taking the value of the programme to £1.8bn.
And more recently, by us further managing the programme, Scottish Government announced details of five additional schools which would be funded from the existing £1.8bn budget, taking the total number of schools in the programme to 117 schools.
Schools Pilot Project
Part of the work we carry out is to encourage Scotland’s councils to look at different approaches to how they set and manage design briefs.
This has been illustrated through our Schools Pilot project which brought together two councils from opposite sides of the country to build state-of-the-art schools for the benefit of their communities (Eastwood High School in East Renfrewshire and the Lasswade Centre in Midlothian), using a similar design.
This was the first time two Scottish councils came together and proved so successful that the collaborative approach has been used by other councils to achieve benefits and savings across the programme.
The Lasswade Centre has stood out for the numerous community benefits being delivered. It has a secondary school, a community library, a town hall, a 25m leisure pool, a specialist gymnastics centre, varied sports facilities, a crèche, a community cinema and café all under one roof and open to the public.
As a result, the Centre picked up the top accolade in the Community Benefits category of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Scotland awards.
This video, produced by pupils at Eastwood High School, clearly demonstrates the benefits being delivered there.
This model has continued to be utilised and progressed with many great examples of community assets being delivered through the school’s programme.
Reference Primary School Design
The objective of the Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme is to deliver good quality, well designed and sustainable schools.
In furthering that objective, we invited two architects to come up with a reference primary school to create high-quality, efficient, flexible, sustainable and affordable designs that could be delivered in line with the Scotland’s Schools for the Future objectives.
The project was also aimed at challenging conventional thinking and develop a design that could be easily adapted to suit different sizes of primary schools.
The new school (Lairdsland Primary School) has been built and since opening has gone on to win numerous design and architecture awards with numerous other councils adopting the design principles.
Inspiring Learning Spaces
The ways in which pupils learn are ever-changing, so it’s vital the environments where they're taught in can adapt to meet the needs of the curriculum.
In 2014, Scottish Government launched its £5m Inspiring Learning Spaces, and we’ve been working with 21 councils on their creative and ambitious projects.
The learning from these projects has been gathered and shared across Scotland. A toolkit has been developed for authorities and schools to use, if they are planning to use the spaces they have differently to help facilitate the learning and teaching that is happening.
Many communities have benefitted from the facilities that have been delivered through the programme. A recent example of this is The Waid in Fife. When funding from the SFT-managed Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme was approved for The Waid, Fife Council took the bold and ambitious approach to re-examine the building’s purpose for the benefit of the wider community.
So bold was the review and with strategic support and guidance from our “place” experts, today the building boasts a first-class school with sports facilities (that the community use), a fully fitted out library (that the community use), a café (that the community use) and a range of meeting rooms (that the community use).
Not only all that, but the building is also used by the council and its partners to handle general queries from the public and to meet customers by appointment. The local elderly forum use the large meeting room on a regular basis to host their meetings and its members are able to access the café, library and council services while there. All this takes place while the school operates fully and without interruption to teaching. So far-reaching was the vision, that the school building also is used as a base for Police Scotland.
To see the benefits for yourself, please click on the play button below: