Education estate excellence recognised at Learning Places Scotland awards

Education estate excellence recognised at Learning Places Scotland awards

The AtkinsRéalis team received their award from comedian/host Craig Hill

Excellence in Scotland’s learning estate was recognised this week at the Learning Places Scotland Awards ceremony at the Hilton in Glasgow.

Design, engineering and project management company AtkinsRéalis picked up the ‘Consultancy of the Year’ award and the ‘Project of the Year’ prize at the annual event on Tuesday.

Secured for the fourth time in five years, the Consultancy of the Year award is valuable recognition that AtkinsRéalis has demonstrated outstanding work in the education sector across Scotland during 2022/23, which has also been a fantastic period of growth with 20% uplift in projects delivered in 18 months.

More than 60 education projects have been delivered during this period, including new facilities for 917 early years children, and improvement to classroom facilities for more than 21,000 new inspiring student and staff spaces.

Kirsty Whitfield, regional managing director for Scotland & Ireland Project & Programme Services, said: “I’m proud our team has been awarded Consultancy of the Year for a fourth time. Winning the award is true testament to our Scottish team’s commitment to ensuring high quality, innovation and collaboration in all our projects. Our fantastic team put everything into the success of our projects, driving to improve the learning experience for thousands of young people across Scotland. My congratulations go out to all those involved, and I thank our entire team and our partners for all their hard work and dedication.”

James Butler, managing director for Project & Programme Services, added: “It’s a remarkable achievement and I’m so proud of our team. Picking up this award for the fourth time in five years not only reflects on the excellence of our team in Scotland, but also the amazing portfolio of education projects we have to work on, which is a real privilege. Congratulations to the team once again for being recognised for their efforts to deliver success for our clients.”

The team continues to provide outstanding multi-disciplinary services delivering 40% of Scotland’s LEIP funded schools across nine local authorities, continuing to work with 10 Scottish Universities delivering >£200 million of projects at University of St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen.

AtkinsRéalis supports Scotland’s ambition to be net zero by 2045, increasing the number of Passivhaus schools delivered, whilst collaborating with the SFT, local authorities and Universities. The team has generated £25m in Salix funding for its education clients.

As well as the Consultancy of the Year award, AtkinsRealis received further award recognition from Learning Places Scotland:

  • The National Robotarium - Project of the Year
  • Heriot-Watt University - Client of the Year- highly commended

AtkinsRéalis was appointed by Heriot-Watt University as project manager and employer’s agent, reflecting its longstanding relationship with the university and extensive experience of higher education and research buildings. The £22m facility creates world-class robotic solutions for homes, healthcare, manufacturing, construction, energy and agritech and is the UK’s largest and most advanced robotics and AI research and teaching centre.

Education estate excellence recognised at Learning Places Scotland awards

Elsewhere on the night, Riverside Primary School in Perth won the ‘Innovation in Delivering a Sustainable Learning Place’ award.

Riverside is one of the first primary schools in Scotland built to Passivhaus standards (final certification pending), where quality of construction and energy saving measures are integral to the construction of the building.

The two-storey school replaced North Muirton and Balhousie Primary Schools and has a capacity for 500 pupils. It incorporates a nursery and Additional Support Needs Provision (ASN).

Councillor John Rebbeck, convenor of Perth and Kinross Council’s Learning and Families Committee, said: “We are committed to giving our children and young people the best start in life and the new Riverside School is a fantastic place for learning.

“I am thrilled the work that has gone into creating Scotland’s first Passivhaus primary school has been recognised.”

Convenor of Perth and Kinross Council’s Climate Change and Sustainability Committee Councillor Richard Watters, added: “It is vital new buildings are as energy efficient as possible so they are better for the environment and running costs are kept to a minimum.

“Riverside Primary School is a state-of-the-art building and I am sure will be held up as an example for buildings across the country in years to come.”

The new school was built by Robertson Construction Tayside for Perth and Kinross Council.

Kevin Dickson, regional managing director, Robertson Construction Tayside, added: “Riverside Primary School sets a benchmark in Scotland for Passivhaus, by choosing this design standard Perth and Kinross Council is clearly illustrating its commitment towards net zero and high quality by providing facilities which are economical to run and have been proven to help improve pupil attainment.

“We are delighted that the efforts of the entire team have been recognised at the Learning Places Scotland Awards.”

Gary Bushnell, chief executive, hub East Central Scotland, who managed the delivery of the project, commented: “We are proud that Riverside Primary School has been recognised for its innovative approach to sustainable building.

“Designed by Architype and built by Robertson, the school provides an environmentally friendly learning environment that will serve the community for generations to come.”

The award winners in full are as follows:

Contractor of the Year


  • Multiplex - winner
  • Morrison Construction
  • Morgan Sindall Construction
  • McLaughlin & Harvey Construction Ltd
  • Kier Construction

Early Learning & Childcare (ELC)


  • Renfrewshire Early Years Expansion
  • Willow Den at Spartans
  • Crosshouse Primary School and Communication Centre
  • Generation 5 Glasgow Nursery Programme - winner
  • Methil Intergeneration Nursery and Care Home

Technology: Transforming Learning, Teaching and the Curriculum


  • Digitize Pathways Programme
  • The National Robotarium
  • Fife College and Kenoteq
  • Midlothian Council - winner
  • Scottish Online Lessons

Innovation in Delivering a Sustainable Learning Space


  • Methil Intergenerational Nursery and Care Home
  • Riverside Primary School - winner
  • St John Vianney RC PS ‘The Zone’

Client of the Year


  • University of Glasgow - winner
  • South Ayrshire Council
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • East Dunbartonshire Council
  • West Dunbartonshire Council

Architectural Practice of the Year


  • NORR Consultants Ltd
  • BDP
  • AHR
  • Halliday Fraser Munro
  • Architype - winner

Consultancy of the Year


  • Hub South East
  • AtkinsRéalis - winner
  • Doig and Smith Ltd

Pupil/Student Experience


  • Prestwick North Education Campus - winner
  • Newmains & St Brigid’s Community Hub
  • School of Health & Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow
  • University of Edinburgh - King’s Buildings Nucleus

Inspiring Learning Spaces


  • Lockhart Campus 
  • Winchburgh Schools Campus
  • Prestwick North Education Campus
  • Newmains & St Brigid’s Community Hub - winner
  • Milltimber Primary School
  • Corpus Christi Primary

Project of the Year


  • Winchburgh Schools Campus
  • Prestwick North Education Campus
  • Countesswells Primary School, Aberdeen
  • Renton Campus
  • The National Robotarium - winner
  • The University of Edinburgh - King’s Buildings Nucleus

Refurbishment of the Year


  • Willowview Early Learning & Childcare (ELC) @ Oban
  • Royal College South Laboratory Robotics Hub Refurbishment - winner
  • Inspire: Tweedbank

Project of the Year - Inclusive Design


  • Lockhart Campus - winner
  • Woodland View School
  • Cedarbank School
  • St Crispin’s

Supplier of the Year


  • Metal Technology Ltd
  • Portakabin (Scotland) Ltd - winner
  • 2Simple
  • Forbo Flooring Systems
  • This is Milk
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