£200 million to help close the attainment gap in Scotland

In the next phase of the £1bn Scottish Attainment Challenge, £200 million of funding has been confirmed for the year ahead to help close the attainment gap for those pupils experiencing poverty.

Recognising the impact of the pandemic and poverty on pupils across the country, a redesigned approach to the Challenge will see funding of £43 million extended to all of Scotland’s local authorities to help tackle the attainment gap and support education recovery.

Head teachers will receive up to £130 million next year through Pupil Equity Funding. They can decide how best to invest this to support disadvantaged pupils in their schools.

Local authority work to improve the educational and well-being outcomes of care experienced young people will receive approximately £11.5 million, with around £9 million reserved for a number of a national programmes supporting children to reach their full potential.

The Scottish Government will also work with local authorities to set out the expected pace of progress in closing the gap.

Ms Somerville said: “Closing the attainment gap remains our key long-term ambition. We are increasing our investment to £1 billion over this parliamentary term to support education recovery and improve outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty.

“We are determined to increase the pace of this crucial work and to ensure children and young people across different parts of Scotland reach their full potential. Our head teachers and teachers know their pupils best, and they have our full trust to help achieve this backed by £200 million for the year ahead. Schools can’t do this alone and we have fully aligned our work on closing the attainment gap with wider work to tackle child poverty.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring every child and young person has the same opportunity to succeed in education, regardless of their background – we will deliver this for them.”

HMI Chief Inspector and Chief Executive of Education Scotland Gayle Gorman said: “Education Scotland remains focused on our long term commitment to working collaboratively with Scotland’s educators across all sectors to ensure our children and young people most impacted by poverty continue to be supported to achieve as much as their more affluent peers. We need to ensure that all children and young people achieve the very best outcomes through education – wherever they are in Scotland and from whatever background they come from.

“In readiness for the changes that this refresh of the Scottish Attainment Challenge will bring, our Senior Regional Advisors and Attainment Advisors will continue to engage with every local authority to provide support to schools and their community partners to ensure our learners disadvantaged by poverty have the opportunities and support they need to achieve their aspirations. This is a long-term commitment that has been supported by a system-wide, collaborative endeavour across Scottish education to make Scotland the best place to grow and learn.”

Read more