Kelvinside Academy in Glasgow has announced Scotland’s School of Innovation, the first of its kind in the UK, will open its doors in August this year.

Balfour Beatty will partner with Kelvinside Academy as part of a £2.5m contract to build the new school on its Glasgow West End campus. Based on an ‘architecture studio’ model, learning in the school will be focussed on “real-world challenges and collaborative problem-solving, rather than exams and results”.

A statement said: “As well as disrupting education, the building will be a beacon for the construction sector as it will be the country’s first sustainable building designed and constructed using circular and eco-design principles.”

To mark a milestone in its construction, Kelvinside Academy and Balfour Beatty hosted a ‘topping-out’ ceremony this week to celebrate the achievement of the building reaching its maximum height.

Kelvinside Academy school pupils are already benefiting from the partnership, with S4 and S5 pupil teams shadowing Balfour Beatty’s construction and design teams, learning from industry experts from the global construction giant, attending meetings, and providing feedback and input. 

“It’s a sign of things to come,” said the statement, “the innovation school will be an open space for scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, roboticists and industry experts working with pupils on a wide range of projects with real social impact.”

David Miller, director of Scotland’s School of Innovation, said: “This is a must for Scotland if it is to continue to punch above its weight in the global economy during these challenging times. We truly believe we can and will transform education in the United Kingdom. We live in a rapidly changing world and schools need to provide an education which prepares young people to look at things differently.

“Glasgow is the ideal place for the UK’s first innovation school. The city has a booming tech sector, is home to world class universities and some of the world’s most creative and talented engineers, architects and designers. 

“Our partnership with Balfour Beatty demonstrates the company’s desire to address a nationwide skills gap. Although central to pupils attending Kelvinside Academy, we intend for the Innovation School to have an impact throughout Scotland and beyond.”

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty’s regional managing director for Scotland and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Kelvinside Academy, in a relationship which shares our vision of reducing onsite activity by 25% by the year 2025 and will help us develop our future talent.

“We have worked closely with Kelvinside Academy to ensure a collaborative design process and maximise efficiencies through circular and eco-design principles, which are designed to minimise waste and capitalise on resources. We look forward to successfully delivering this unique project and developing close links between the school and industry for years to come.”

In the coming months, Kelvinside Academy said it will unveil a number of partnerships with key figures and bodies in industry and academia.

The statement added: “Kelvinside Academy is constantly challenging the concept of the traditional education system and pupils are already going off curriculum for two weeks at a time to follow fluid programmes guided by James Addison, the school’s full-time Fellow from NuVu, the world’s leading innovation school.”