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Conference Programme 2023



14 Nov 2023
Stage 2

Does it matter what students think of their school environment?
Dr Edward Edgerton, Reader in Psychology, University of the West of Scotland

Education research has demonstrated the importance of variables such as socioeconomic status, gender and school attendance as predictors of academic achievement, however research investigating the role of the physical learning environment on academic achievement is more limited and what research has been conducted often focuses on objective characteristics such as temperature, air quality and noise. In contrast this study measures students’ subjective perceptions of their physical school environment and explores how these perceptions along with socioeconomic status, gender and school attendance relate to academic achievement. In addition, we also examined a range of other important variables that could be potential mediating factors between environmental perceptions and academic achievement. The study was conducted with 441, S5 students in five secondary schools in Scotland. Students completed a questionnaire that measured their perceptions of their school environment, their behaviour in school, and their learning goals. In addition, data on student academic achievement, attendance and socioeconomic status was provided by the Local Authority. Data analysis indicates that students’ subjective perceptions of their physical school environment, along with attendance, socioeconomic status and gender are all significantly related to academic achievement. In addition, subsequent analysis indicates that the relationship between students’ subjective perceptions of their physical school environment and academic achievement is mediated by important “in-school behaviours”. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the direct and indirect relationship between student perceptions of their school environment and their academic achievement.

Dumfries Learning Town: Completing the Journey
Neil McIntyre, Project Management Lead, DLT2; Larann Foss & Dr Gillian Brydson, Director, Skills, Education and Learning, Dumfries and Galloway Council

Dumfries Learning Town, as a concept, was developed over ten years ago, this innovative vision was to provide an holistic approach to education on a whole town basis within the Burgh of Dumfries allowing choice and equity for learners in accessing enhanced education facilities across all school throughout Dumfries together with a shared timetable across all secondary schools to extend opportunities for a wider curricular offering.
Phase One is complete and includes the refurbishment of  St. Joseph's College, a new North West Community Campus bringing together Secondary, Primary, Nursery and ASN Schools into a single building, The Bridge, a shared facility across all secondary schools to allow unique specialist facilities that could not be replicated in individual schools.
DLT2 is in development and sees a replacement, Dumfries High School which is part of Phase 2 of the Learning Estate Investment Programme, replacing and downsizing a 1960's building for 1400 pupils to a modern facility for 936 pupils to the exacting standards of LEIP. The new school is due to be operational in autumn 2025. DLT2 also includes the relocation of Loreburn Primary School into the Dumfries Academy Campus with a refurbishment of the Campus including upgrading two 100 year old Grade B listed buildings to modern standards.

This presentation sets out the initial concept of the Dumfries Learning Town, how it has developed over the decade. Highlighting and showcasing what has worked well but also recognising the specific challenges around the North West Community Campus. It demonstrates how the Council has acknowledged and acted upon the findings of the independent report and how the phase 2 projects react to the challenges of delivering LEIP standard schools with an agile approach to the utilisation of existing and new assets to ensure a suitable and sustainable future for the Dumfries Learning Town.

Rose Jenkins, Director of Estates and Campus Services - University of Dundee
Edward Edgerton, Reader in Psychology - University of the West of Scotland
Neil McIntyre, Project Management Lead DLT2 - Dumfries and Galloway Council
Larann Foss, Schools Manager - Property - Dumfries & Galloway Council
Gillian Brydson, Director - Skills, Education and Learning - Dumfries and Galloway Council
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