Dumfries Learning Town is about planning and delivering education on a whole town basis and not looking at schools individually. We want to make sure that all of our young people benefit equally. We want to make sure that our Schools, College, Universities and Local Business work together for the best. Most importantly, we want to make sure that your child's school experience is the best that it can be and leads on to further study or a job.
In 2008, Councillors agreed that options be explored for varying levels of integration of the four existing secondary schools (with other services) and primary schools should be progressed, alongside exploring the development of a new model of education provision for young people.
Over the last 6 years engagement with pupils, parents, teachers, learning and commercial partners have helped to forge an Emerging Option for Dumfries that places investment in Education in Dumfries (with wider impacts for Dumfries and Galloway) as a priority project for the Council
A key step in making Dumfries Learning Town come to life is the engagement between pupils, parents and staff and by working with our partners in the wider community of Dumfries and beyond.
To do this, we need to work with a team of professionals who will use information gathered as part of our Outline Business Case, ideas based on need now and aspirations for the future, to inform buildings that will support your children in their learning. To make this happen our development partner South West Hub has engaged a main contractor and team of designers, Graham Construction Ltd, who will undertake the engagement, design and construction for Dumfries Learning Town.
The development for Dumfries is split into two phases, however, all schools involved in the capital (build) investment programme will go through the same initial engagement Stage 1 phase.
As a reminder the Dumfries Learning Project is made up of the following phases and projects
For those schools who are not directly affected by a new build or re-creation of spaces we will also ensure that you are a part of the process by working through your secondary school cluster or through additional special community events.
An outline business case for Dumfries Learning Town was presented to Education Committee and Full Council during 2013. The document can be downloaded below, copies are also available from your local school or through the Ewart Library in Dumfries.
As of April 2014, we are continuing to work with our local and national partners to develop the fiscal and educational workstreams as outlined in the Business Case.
Dumfries Learning Town is an innovative approach to provide a new model of 3 to 18 education delivery. This new model will provide a greater range of subjects and learning environments to better meet the needs of all our learners. Through new purpose built facilities which are better integrated with further/higher education and businesses, our learners will fully benefit from an integrated approach to delivering Curriculum for Excellence together with essential life skills. This model is detailed in the diagram below.
The Learning Hub is a key part in the delivery of this model creating a facility which will bring together early years, broad general education and senior years with education partners and businesses to create a unique agile environment. This will respond to the learners' needs by preparing them for the work place of tomorrow.
Teachers across our schools are working together to build on existing best practice and developing a plan for future delivery of education that provides increased relevant opportunities for all pupils through making the most of all of the resources within and outwith school environments.
Working with others
Professor Stephen Heppell has been sharing his knowledge and experience of learning spaces and places from an international perspective as well as working with us to question how we use schools and how this reflective process should inform design.
This work will continue as the project develops and we will let you know about this and other opportunities to contribute.
A Nithsdale Committee Community event was held in Dumfries Academy in June 2014 to discuss the proposed site for the new Learning Hub.
The year 2015 will see marked change in pace for the design and delivery of Dumfries Learning Town.
We have had meetings with some parent councils to see how we might work together better individually and jointly, to understand views and to ask how they wish to input into the development and delivery of Dumfries Learning Town. These will continue to be a part of our plan as we move forward.
As we reported in our last letter we have appointed our main contractor for the design and build process for Dumfries schools. Initial stakeholder meetings have taken place with our Head Teachers and this will be extended over the coming months to include parents, staff and pupils as we begin to look at what that might look like in terms of actual buildings and spaces for learning.
On the 27th January the Education Committee will discuss a paper that seeks to take forward to the next stage the Dumfries Learning Town Programme. Essentially, Members will be asked to agree to commence statutory consultation around the following items:
A communications strategy for all partners has been shared with schools for comment and Graham Construction who are working with schools will start to identify opportunities for workshops with community groups later in the year. We will put any key dates up on the Dumfries Learning Town webpage and send out notifications via Parent Councils or you can email us at Schoolsforthefuture@dumgal.gov.uk.
You can also contact us in the following ways: