Why stop at the school gate? – Learning in bus-stops near secondary schools

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October 2022


Scottish School of Herbal Medicine



Partnered with the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine (SSHM) and developed educational posters for bus-stops near schools across Scotland.


The Scottish government spent many years developing the Curriculum for Excellence, which strives to “help children and young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors (the four capacities).”

However, it comes with an expectation on individual schools and teachers to design the curriculum, which, given the stagnation in teacher pay and inequity in resources across most and least deprived schools, leaves a lot of room for inequity in learning and attainment.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal states that by 2030, we should “ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles”. This is a global goal that Scotland is enfolding into its educational process, but there is still room for improvement.



At PLW, we wanted to create resources that could compliment school curriculum, provide deeper or alternative insights into ecological subjects, and place these resources on streets near schools.

Not only would they provide opportunities for follow-on learning, but they would also replace harmful advertising, often centred on buying chocolate, or other unhealthy foods, aimed at school kids or their parents. We wanted to engage 11–16-year-olds in urban areas across Central and Northeast Scotland.


What We Did

We consulted with SSHM as an educational institution, on the basis that we wanted to cover a core group of topics to educate 11–16-year-olds around environmentalism, sustainable agriculture, and local plant life.

Together, we came up with six topics to cover as part of a mini-curriculum:

  1. What is the Biosphere, and how does it work?
  2. What is Vitamin C, what foods can you get it from, and how to prepare it?
  3. Local poisonous plants to look out for
  4. What can you grow in a year in Scotland? (Scottish Growing Calendar)
  5. How can you compost fast and sustainably? (Bokashi Compost Guide)

Our Approach

  • Fair Pay
  • Working Locally
  • Ethical Partnerships
  • Chose talented designers, with a track record. This meant we could easily deliver high-quality designs to deadline
  • Used QR codes to track usage, and measure generated site-traffic
  • Tracked user data from our website, and SSHM website, to understand overall impact


  • We reached 586,000 people, across 14 sites, and 6 posters
  • We saw an increase in user-data for our partner's website by 117%



  • We created an archive of educational resources for future use in: local ethical partnerships, distribution in local schools, and as a revenue scheme for non-educational customers
  • It was difficult to make contact with schools, due to a lack of direct connections
  • This was a cost-effective advertising method, in places where we know we will reach our intended audiences
  • We were unable to understand our overall impact, as we were unable to employ further monitoring, such as on-site feedback gathering or calls for participation


  • Establish an overall brand identity. The posters were quite disconnected from one another, as they had been designed by a number of different illustrators. This made it hard for audiences to connect them to one programme. Establishing an overall brand identity would have made it easier for viewers to understand them as a part of larger campaign.
  • Utilise community partnerships to open the door for distribution in schools
  • Include more in-depth monitoring in our budgets, to allow us to employ individuals on the ground to gather data on-site, and/or place calls for participation in local news outlets