The Scottish Alliance Steering Group

The Scottish Alliance is a steering group made up of academics, educators, and industry professionals who have come together to create a shared understanding of the languages and processes used to identify key strengths and areas for interdisciplinary learning environment development across Scotland. The alliance is led by Professor Do Coyle and includes representatives from Scottish Futures Trust, NORR Architects, Steelcase, Ecophon, The City of Edinburgh Council, Midlothian Council, Aberdeenshire Council with research activities supported by the Shared Learning Spaces team.

Overarching Aims

The Scottish Alliance Strategic Plan 2022-2023 detailed our overarching research question:

How can/do stakeholders, teachers and learners co-design and develop learning spaces across varied contexts which foster self-esteem for all?

We seek to ensure learning gains and a sense of achievement for all users with a specific focus on suitability and sustainability, underpinned by value-driven principles, futures thinking and inclusive pedagogies.

The research agenda follows recommendations of a report commissioned by Scottish Futures Trust and Midlothian Council on the impact of the school built environment on students’ learning and well-being.

Latest Findings

Our studies so far (see Research reports) indicate that ‘quality’ placemaking design does not stop once a learning space has been completed or refurbished.

Findings indicate that learner and teacher engagement is an iterative process, involving continual refinement and importantly a whole school approach in order to embed learning and learning space design within the whole school community. Scottish Alliance studies suggest that when learning spaces are fit-for-purpose learners feel a sense of joy, belonging and ownership, underpinned by a more inclusive starting point for unveiling learners’ needs.

Global Research

In 2021 the Shared and Agile Learning Spaces team was invited to participate in a year long global initiative the Innovative Learning and Student Experience (ILE+SE) Scoping Study hosted by the University of Melbourne The aim of this scoping study is for academics, educators, and industry partners across the globe to construct and action a deeper, shared understanding of ways in which learning spaces and places are integral to inclusive transformative pedagogies, impacting the quality of learning for all. This opportunity and the desire to unite stakeholders as ‘designers of learning’ and building on participatory, pioneering work in schools led to the creation of the Scottish Alliance.

You can find out more about our participation in ILE+SE in our blog post.

Our Sponsors

Scottish Futures Trust awarded a grant to the Scottish Alliance (April 2022 – March 2023), to support research and development as well as to assist in increasing the profile of the Scottish Alliance on a national and global scale.

We thank all of our sponsors, Scottish Futures Trust, Steelcase Learning, Ecophon, and Sage Glass, for their ongoing support.