Building Fife's Future

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Published: Friday 03 Apr 2009 by Fife Council

Building Fife's Future

Building Fife's Future


FifeCouncil plans to invest £126m in the school estate over the next ten years to build four secondary schools and two primary schools. We regard our 10 year programme of renewing and improving our schools as a visionary project and that is why we have called it “Building Fife’s Future”.
Our ambition is to create schools for the 21st century and beyond. It is vital that these buildings feature high quality design; are highly functional; sustainable in all senses; fit for a modern curriculum; adaptable to future needs; promote a culture of lifelong learning within communities; and be a source of pride for future generations.

Priorities for investment include:

Madras College                                                  Dunfermline High School

Auchmuty High School                                     Burntisland Primary School

A new secondary school for Kirkcaldy          A new primary school for Dunfermline East


Fife Council is determined not to create "new old schools".  Schools should be landmark buildings, the hub of the community which they serve. They should be life long learning centres that by design, raise the motivation, aspiration and attainment of the learners who use them. A project team has been formed and will be looking at  21st Century school buildings that will achieve this.  The built environment can and will play a key role in helping to deliver the Curriculum for Excellence.

Success will depend on making the most of the expertise of all those involved - engaging with all those who will use the new facilities for learning, teaching, leisure or work.

Design Festival

Design Festival


The first stage of the project has involved gathering views and engaging with school users about the key factors that would make a school building excellent to work and learn in.  A series of conferences, meetings, surveys, visits to other authorities and a Design Festival have been held, and these will all inform the design process:


Designs for learning conference
Held in November 2008 this was the first event organised to stimulate discussion on shaping future school buildings. Delegates from a wide range of Council Services and elected members were challenged to question traditional school design in the light of the changing world of work and the speed of technological development. Sustainability was also a theme of this conference and a firm of architects outlined ways in which this had featured in their recent school designs.
Master Class on Transformational Learning Environment
Following on from the conference Dr Kenn Fisher led a master class on the changing learning environments. He presented a number of case studies of school designs which reflect the new and emerging teaching and learning methods.
Staff questionnaire
All staff from 8 secondary schools had the opportunity to complete a questionnaire.
224 responses were received.  A report of this survey is available to read.
Pupil questionnaire
Over 3000 pupils from 8 secondary schools surveyed completed the on line questionnaire.  A report of this survey is also available to read.
Design Festival
In February 2009 a Design Festival was held for over 100 young people from 5 secondary schools. The purpose of the day was to engage with young people in a creative way to encourage them to express their ideas for the design of a secondary school for the 21st century.  You can read more about the Design Festival at  A pamphlet was also produced to convey the young people's ideas to  the architects and designers who will be working on Fife's new schools. 

Pre development evaluation

As Dunfermline High School and Madras College are the first two secondary schools in the project, a pre development evaluation was carried out in those schools in order to engage more closely with all users of the building . Representatives of all users were interviewed over a number of days to determine their thoughts on the suitability of the present building and their aspirations.

Visits to Academies in England
In March members of the strategic brief group and 2 elected members visited 3 Academies in England. The purpose of the visit was: to identify characteristics and features of the buildings which will help to support the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence: to gather information re sustainability: and to gain an insight into how specific characteristics of the buildings enhance the educational provision.
Langley, one of the academies visited

Langley, one of the academies visited

 Local Development Groups have now been set up for Dunfermline High School and Madras College.  These are made up of representatives from school staff and pupils, parents, community staff and users, community councils and associated primary school parent councils.

Building Fife's Future will take great commitment.  By generating vision now, Fife Council wants to create the best for Fife's young people.


Archived Feature originally published 03 Apr 2009 - 03 Apr 2010

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