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Supporting stronger educational infrastructure planning for West Lothian Council

With an influx of housing developments and a burgeoning population of young residents, West Lothian Council is the youngest and fastest-growing local authority in Scotland. They worked with Edge Analytics, who were able to provide a robust solution for forecasting school rolls and ensuring adequate education infrastructure across primary and secondary settings.

The council’s education planning team, tasked with aligning housing development plans with the needs of the current and future school-age population, required solid evidence for forecasting school rolls over a 10-year period. This led to them being the first council in Scotland to adopt Edge Analytics’ edge-ucate product. 

Edge-ucate was initially developed with English schooling in mind and, as such, it required adjustments to adapt it for the Scottish education system. West Lothian Council collaborated with Edge Analytics to tailor the product, integrating regional differences to align the product with its needs.

Once the edge-ucate product had been adapted, West Lothian Council employed it in their financial and capacity planning activities, helping them to evaluate financial forecasts in terms of pupil numbers and teaching staff requirements, and understand the required developer contributions. The solid evidence base provided by the edge-ucate product allowed West Lothian Council to negotiate confidently with developers; having access to robust, defensible data became a cornerstone of planning appeals and discussions.

The success of the product in West Lothian was underpinned by the collaborative efforts between the council and Edge Analytics, bringing together quality inputs, unmatched local knowledge and education forecasting expertise. The ongoing collaboration involves a checking process to ensure that the data informing the forecasts remains as accurate and reliable as possible. 

West Lothian Council values its collaborative relationship with Edge Analytics, who are proud to be the council’s sole external education planning data supplier. One of the outcomes of this collaboration has been the opening of two new secondary schools and a primary school, with a total investment exceeding £60 million, with Edge providing data to justify this investment. West Lothian continues to work with Edge to build ever more resilient and future-proofed education infrastructure.

“Having robust data helps forecast future capital and revenue school requirements and ensure investment is secured in advance of developments taking place.”

Andrew Cotton, Senior Education Planner, West Lothian Council.

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