About the Scottish Attainment Challenge

​The Scottish Attainment Challenge is about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Equity can be achieved by ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed. We want a Scotland where every child achieves the highest standards in literacy and numeracy and the right range of skills, qualifications and achievements to allow them to succeed regardless of their background or circumstances. We will continue to raise attainment for all children but we will have a specific focus on closing the educational attainment gap. 

The First Minister launched the Scottish Attainment Challenge in February 2015 to bring a greater sense of urgency and priority to this issue. It is underpinned by The National Improvement Framework, Curriculum for Excellence and Getting it Right for Every Child.

Why it matters

It is unacceptable in Scotland that a child’s circumstances – where they live, their family’s circumstances – can still have a disproportionate impact on their chances of success. Levelling the playing field now will provide them with the education they deserve and the tools they need to succeed.

Our aims

The Scottish Attainment Challenge will support schools and local authorities to focus on and accelerate targeted improvement activity in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. It will also support and complement the broader range of initiatives and programmes to ensure that all of Scotland’s children and young people reach their full potential.


A team of Attainment Advisors work collaboratively alongside local authority staff community planning partners, head teachers and teachers to co-ordinate, plan and support appropriate evidence-based interventions. They support and challenge leaders in their efforts and have a key role in building the capacity of leaders and practitioners by supporting effective self-evaluation, underpinned by robust evidence of what is working well and what needs further improvement. The approach taken places learning and teaching; families and communities; and leadership as the core strands of the Scottish Attainment Challenge supported work.

There are also a range of resources and support materials on the National Improvement Hub.