Introduction   Overview   The shape of the debate   Themes Theme 1 - A National Heritage Collection Theme 2 - Heritage for Communities Theme 3 - Making Heritage Accessible Theme 4 Heritage and Tourism after 2014    
Introduction Disney Work? Case studies Heritage for All
A Place for Learning? The options for the Trust Video Package Your views 

The purpose of the National Trust for Scotland is to conserve and promote our heritage. One of the fundamental means by which the Trust has set out to fulfill this purpose is through being an exemplar of learning and interpretation.

As stated in the Trust’s five-year strategy Securing the Future of Our Past, published in 2011:

“We want people to understand the importance of places and things of beauty and historic interest in Scotland and to act responsibly to protect them for future generations.

“We see the Trust as being at the centre of a movement, a common cause of protecting our heritage. We want to enthuse and inspire more people from the widest possible range of backgrounds – in Scotland and elsewhere – to join this cause in order to celebrate and explore our inheritance. In that sense we want to encourage our members and supporters to think of themselves, alongside us, as Scotland’s ‘trustees’, informed and passionate about protecting what is precious to us all. Helping people understand why properties and collections are significant is a key element in promoting our heritage.

“Our aim is for every visitor to leave one of our properties stimulated and enthused by their visit. We want to enhance their visit by ensuring that they discover or learn something they would not find elsewhere.”

The Trust’s new Learning and Interpretation Policy was published in March 2014 with the aspiration of “encouraging conservation through education” and covered formal academic learning, through schools, nurseries and other institutions, and informal learning and interpretation ranging from through active and passive means.

The Trust’s Education, Access and Enjoyment Principles are core to its mission along with the Conservation Principles. It is based on the fundamental point that caring for, conserving, protecting and repairing historic and naturally significant places around the country has no point if no-one makes use of them or enjoys them.

Learning activity is split between two general headings:

Formal Learning: This is the work the Trust undertakes with Schools and other formal education providers, especially when linked to the Curriculum for Excellence (as well as Nurseries, Colleges, Universities). This is designed to ensure students achieve certain objectives and outcomes, usually in partnership with the Educational institution.

Informal Learning: The wide variety of learning activities planned for all visitors - including interpretation, signage, tours and events. These are designed to deepen their understanding and enjoyment of Trust properties and are often multi-layered in order to meet the needs of a wide range of different learning styles. Visitors don't always necessarily recognise that they are learning something, although many do. Learning happens naturally as they take part in activities or read and absorb information about a property.

Outdoor learning falls under either heading as the Trust might organise a bug hunting workshop with a school group during the week and with a family group at the weekend.