Closing poverty-related attainment gap is making 'good progress', Scottish Government claims

Good progress has been made on closing the poverty-related attainment gap in schools, a Scottish Government report has claimed.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 12:46 pm

The report said the gap between the proportion of primary pupils – from P1, P4 and P7 – from the most and least deprived areas achieving the expected level in literacy and numeracy has narrowed since the 2016/17 academic year.

However, at S3 level, a year before pupils sit their National 5 exams, while the gap has narrowed for pupils in terms of numeracy attainment, the gap increased slightly for literacy between 2017/18 and 2018/19, after having reduced slightly between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

The report said the participation gap between those who live in the most deprived and least deprived areas had narrowed year-on-year between 2016/17 and 2019/20.

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The attainment gap between pupils from different socio-economic backgrounds is narrowing, the Scottish Government has said.

Since 2015, more than £750 million has been invested in the Scottish Attainment Challenge through the Attainment Scotland Fund (ASF).

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Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Closing the poverty-related attainment gap and giving every young person the chance to fulfil their full potential, regardless of their background, remains our defining mission. Our ambition is a long-term one and this report clearly shows significant progress has been made in the last five years.”

A separate report into the attainment gap, by the Auditor General for Scotland and the Accounts Commission, is due to be published on Tuesday.

An independent review into Scotland’s curriculum for excellence, led by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), was due to be published in February, but was delayed due to coronavirus, the Scottish Government claimed.

However, earlier this month, MSPs were provided with a summary of the report on the condition they were not allowed to cite, quote or make any aspect of it public. The move sparked claims of a “sleekit attempt” to bury the report by opposition MSPs.

Last month, the Liberal Democrats raised a motion in Parliament saying that Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) “cannot be trusted” with ensuring Scotland’s education system recovers after the pandemic.

Exams have been cancelled for the second year in a row, while an independent commission on school reform has called for a full-scale public review on how pupil performance will be judged in the future.

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