Scottish Attainment Challenge
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. 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.
The Scottish Attainment Challenge provides focused and targeted improvement activity in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing across Scotland. It also supports and complements a broad range of initiatives and programmes to ensure that all of Scotland’s children and young people reach their full potential.
In November 2021, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills announced plans for the Scottish Attainment Challenge (SAC) for 2022/23 to 2025/26. This aims to support recovery from the pandemic and accelerate progress in closing the gap. Details of this refresh can be found Pupil attainment: closing the gap - Schools on the Scottish Government website.
The third summary report provides an overview of progress being made by local authorities in implementing the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the impact of next steps as outlined in their Triannual Reports for April - June 2023. The theme for this report is learning, teaching and assessment.
The second summary report provides an overview of progress being made by local authorities in implementing the Scottish Attainment Challenge refresh and the impact of next steps as outlined in their Triannual Reports for December 2022 – March 2023.
A report that provides an overview of progress being made, so far, by local authorities in implementing the Scottish Attainment Challenge refresh and the impact of next steps as outlined in their Recovery and Progress Reports.
Scottish Attainment Challenge Reporting 2021 to 2022
What is attainment?
The Scottish Government’s ambition is for Scotland to be the best place to grow up. To achieve that we need to raise attainment and reduce educational inequity for all of Scotland’s children and young people.
Attainment is the measurable progress which children and young people make as they advance through and beyond school, and the development of the range of skills, knowledge and attributes needed to succeed in learning, life and work.
The attainment gap
The Scottish education system works well for most children and young people, who make good progress in their learning. However, there is still a gap between the progress which is made between those living in Scotland’s least and most deprived areas.
Many children and young people living in our most deprived communities do significantly worse at all levels of the education system than those from our least deprived communities. This is often referred to as the 'attainment gap'.
The attainment gap in Scotland is unacceptable. Tackling the attainment gap requires challenging everyone involved in Scottish education to relentlessly focus efforts on reducing the impacts of deprivation on educational outcomes.
Attainment Scotland Fund
The Attainment Scotland Fund is a targeted initiative focused on closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children. The fund provides support for the Scottish Attainment Challenge which is split into the following areas:
Strategic Equity Funding (SEF)
Strategic Equity Funding is provided through the £1 billion Attainment Scotland Fund to support education recovery and tackle the poverty related attainment gap. All 32 local authority areas have a clear role to play and will share £43 million annually, to invest in approaches to achieving the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge. Strategic Equity Funding allocations have been confirmed over the next four financial years, providing clarity to support strategic planning over that period. SEF national operational guidance has been designed to support local authorities in planning for the use of this funding.
Pupil Equity Funding (PEF)
Pupil Equity Funding is allocated directly to schools and targeted at closing the poverty related attainment gap.
Every council area is benefitting from Pupil Equity Funding and 97% of schools in Scotland have been allocated funding for pupils in P1 to S3 known to be eligible for free school meals.
This funding is to be spent at the discretion of the head-teacher working in partnership with each other and their local authority, with PEF national operational guidance designed to help support those plans. Schools will now have their plans in place for using their funding and will be implementing those plans.
Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund
The Care Experienced Children and Young People Fund is also being provided to local authorities to enable them to target initiatives, activities, and resources, that will improve the educational outcomes of this group of disadvantaged young people.
Up to £33 million from the Attainment Scotland Fund was made available over the previous parliament.
This funding was distributed to local authorities, and directed by Chief Social Work and Education Officers, in conjunction with key planning partners to target this funding. The voices of care experienced children and young people are integral to this process. The funding benefits a wide group, with care experienced children and young people from birth to the age of 26, being eligible for the fund.
In addition to the funding provided in the previous parliament, over the 2021 to 2022 academic year local authority work to help improve the attainment of care experienced young people, including through mentoring programmes, will be supported with over £11.5 million, through the Care Experienced Children and Young People Grant.