Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Barony A Frame – Working in partnership with the local community

What is this?

The Barony A Frame Trust, working in partnership with schools, has provided the opportunity for pupils to access core values of Curriculum for Excellence such as forging connections with the local community, interdisciplinary learning and the provision of access to recognise wider achievement.

Who is this for?

​Practitioners and teachers in all sectors who are keen to develop positive partnerships with their local communities.

How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

This case study provides an example of a framework that assisted a number of schools to work together in a community project. Collaboration and working across different curriculum areas was vital to the success of the project: Expressive Art, ICT, PE, Social Subjects and Literacy. Pupils experienced outdoor learning which was truly authentic. Pupils were able to apply their classroom learning and skills to new and real life situations within their own community.

  • ​How could you adapt the models shown to suit your own context?
  • How could you link such activity with the curriculum in a meaningful and manageable way?
  • What barriers might you encounter in taking such an initiative forward and how could you plan to overcome these?​

Explore the resource


The Barony A Frame Trust received funding from Community Spaces Lottery Funding and The Minerals Trust. The project was the result of considerable consultation with the local community. It aimed to provide a sustainable future for the former Barony Colliery site by increasing public use of the site, with the resultant raising of awareness about the area’s rich coal mining heritage. Working with East Ayrshire Councils Schools Heritage Projects Coordinator, the Trust sought to involve the community, especially children and young people in the development and delivery of the project. Pupils from both Auchinleck Academy and Cumnock Academy were engaged in producing works of art which are located around the site and the development of an App, telling the story of the sites’ fascinating past.

A working group of the above parties along with Head Teachers and teachers identified areas of the curriculum which could contribute towards the intended outcomes.

This case study provides an example of a framework that assisted a number of schools to work together in a community project. Barony A Frame Trust Working Group, liaised with different curriculum areas, Expressive Arts, PE, Social Subjects and Literacy, giving the pupils an experience of outdoor learning which was truly authentic.

​What was done?

Barony A Frame Trust collaborated with East Ayrshire Council Education Services to involve the community, especially children, in the development and delivery of the project at all stages. The Trust worked closely with the Schools’ Heritage Co-ordinator and schools in the area. The schools engaged in the production of works of art which are now located around the site. Themed around ‘Mining and Local Heritage’. The aim is to increase knowledge of mining in the area, foster an understanding of local heritage and community and thereby increase usage of the site.

Senior pupils studying art took time to learn about deep mining and then produced two vivid and stunning mosaics depicting the efforts of the miners in extracting coal. One of the pupils described her experience “when designing the mosaic I have learned a lot more about our local history and how mining originally played a huge part in it. I learned new skills and techniques and feel working on this project has given me more confidence and self-esteem.”

Pupils from the Supported Learning Base at Cumnock Academy produced a set of canaries (canaries were found in mines to warn of poison gases) carved from wood with the help of East Ayrshire Woodlands. The same pupils used their knowledge of Science to design a food web which is made up from a series of stepping stones based on the plants and animals found at the A Frame site. Pupils designing the stepping stones gained a John Muir Award through their outdoor learning efforts.

An Art Class makes use of the site as an Outdoor Classroom to produce perspective drawings.

An App is now available which provides a guided tour of the Barony A Frame site, providing photos and commentary on features such as the A Frame structure and the Boswell Trees. It weaves together recordings of the pupils’ script with reminiscences from people who once worked at the Barony Colliery. The App was constructed in partnership between Auchinleck Academy S3 Social Studies Class and GuidiGo the APP developer.

The App can be downloaded onto mobile phones and wireless devices when visiting the site.

What was the impact?

Young people from both local secondary and associated primary schools have been actively involved in what essentially has become an outdoor classroom. The projects outcomes are sustainable as schools can continue to visit and participate in interdisciplinary learning at the A Frame site.

To celebrate the success of the project, Barony A Frame Trust hosted an event which was attended by pupils their parents teachers. All the artworks and App were on display and pupils discussed the impact on their learning. This ranged from an increase in leadership and communication skills, a confidence in their own contributions and skills and an ability to work with a wide range of people both within and outwith the school community.

Additional materials

For further background:

The App can be downloaded from GuidiGo