With the prospect of a significant investment in UK Schools, Gaia decided to initiate a study tour to Norway to look at examples of recent projects and to encourage the design and construction of sustainable schools. Local authority officials, public and private sector designers and Scottish government representatives accepted the invitation from Gaia to participate.
The participants recognised the importance of the lessons emerging from the study trips and felt that there would be benefit in sharing the case studies with a much wider audience. The highly successful tour was followed by a further Gaia initiated study tour to Germany in 2004.
This led to a request for the tours to be documented with a view to informing the development of the school estates in Scotland, and support from The Scottish Executive followed.
A publication in two volumes was authored by Gaia Group and published in support of the Building Our Future: Scotland's School Estate. The first volume describes each of the schools visited. The second volume picks up on the themes featured in the first looking and looks at them in more depth. The issues extend well beyond the buildings themselves to procurement, community participation, the nature of play and the role of diet. The tours have left a substantial legacy, seeding very many initiatives to benefit Scottish children.