Sustainable Estate

Time: 14:15 - 15:15

Date: Day 1


Why is the default learning space indoors?

Speakers: Sally York & Natalie White

The Learning Estate is both indoors and outdoors. Why, when people talk about quality education,is the inference this can only occur indoors? In the initial response to COVID -19 the outdoors was seen as a viable option for increasing capacity; either in the school estate or in local woods and greenspace. This presentation will:

  • examine the reasons why we tend to view buildings as the only place where quality learning occurs
  • explore how the learning estate can design, integrate and utilise the outdoors for quality learning
  • provide case studies to demonstrate the integration between indoors and outdoors based around the  5 themes of the conference; suitable, sustainable estate, low carbon, digital and inclusive growth

This will be an interactive presentation so be prepared to get involved. The views of the whole school community will be represented by a variety of methods including presentations, quotes and videos.

Future-proofing landscape design : The Currie Community High School

Speakers: Natalie Murray

Natalie discusses her involvement in the new Currie Community High School in Edinburgh. The focus of her presentation is how and why the unique brief for a combined Educational and Community facility has proven so robust through the changing landscape of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the forward-thinking project brief for Currie High School, the new School does not follow the traditional “student – classroom – academia” model, but rather it centres on integrating Education with Community Facilities in a large interactive campus. This allows for the opening up of new avenues of learning, but also aims to create a flexible, multi-functional and sustainable space where the pupils can grow as an active part of the world around them. A key component of the brief is the full use of the outdoor school grounds as part of the Curriculum, as well as allowing full access to the local Community. Responding to these specific requirements the landscape design ensures the grounds act like a local park, school playground and a wildlife habitat all at once.

During the project programme, we made the fascinating discovery that although our landscape concept was created in a pre-pandemic world, the principles did not need to adjust in an attempt to futureproof the design. These principles were still valid and more relevant than ever in a socially distanced world. The flexible, indoor-outdoor approach to the school has proven a valuable template for future projects and we hope to share our lessons learnt in this presentation.


  • Sally York Recently retired Scottish Forestry as Education Policy Advisor
  • Natalie White Head Teacher - Bualnaluib and Poolewe Primary schools and Aultbea Nursery
  • Natalie Murray Landscape Architect - Wardell Armstrong


  • David McEwan Divisional Director | Corporate Asset Management - Neighbourhoods, Regeneration & Sustainability, Glasgow City Council

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