Publication - Research and analysis

Attainment Scotland Fund evaluation: third interim report - year 4

Published: 8 Oct 2020
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Children and families, Education

This report focuses on the Year 4 (2018/19) evaluation of ASF across Pupil Equity Funding (PEF), Challenge Authority and Schools Programme Funding streams.

8 Oct 2020
Attainment Scotland Fund evaluation: third interim report - year 4

The Attainment Scotland Fund (ASF) evaluation began in 2015 and follows the duration of the Scottish Attainment Challenge (SAC). An evaluation of the first two years of the ASF was published in March 2018, with the Year 3 (2017/18) evaluation published in June 2019.

The Attainment Scotland Fund (ASF) year 4 evaluation report focuses on Year 4 (2018/19) across Pupil Equity Funding (PEF), Challenge Authority and Schools Programme Funding streams. The evaluation aims to provide learning about the overall implementation of the ASF and the extent to which the aims of the ASF have been met.

The evaluation has the following objectives:

Assess the impact of the overall fund in improving attainment and health and wellbeing and reducing the difference between pupils from the most and least deprived areas;

Assess the extent to which the further aims of the Fund have been met: promote capacity for data-based self-evaluation and improvement, and encourage collaboration between schools and local authorities;

Provide learning and increase the Scottish evidence base of what does and does not work to improve attainment and health and wellbeing, especially of pupils from the most deprived areas;

Provide learning on what did and did not work well in the process of implementing the Fund across participating Challenge Authorities and schools and which factors helped and hindered the fund achieving its outcomes.

Evidence in relation to the ASF aims has been gathered from a range of sources and evaluated against a set of research questions.

The sources used to inform progress in Year 4 of the ASF are set out below.

Administrative data: Information gathered as part of the routine organisation of the ASF provides data primarily on the funding that local authorities and schools received from the different funding streams. Challenge Authority and Schools Programme progress reports: Challenge Authorities and Schools Programme Progress Reports in March and September 2019. Local Authority Survey 2019: Between July and September 2019, all 32 local authorities were invited to take part in an online survey. The survey explored local authority perspectives on ASF and was published in November 2019. This was the third wave of the survey. The first wave took place in 2016 with Challenge Authorities only and the second wave was undertaken in 2018 with all local authorities. The third wave of the survey saw a move away from the ‘mini survey’ approach used previously to an expanded survey. This built on the findings of previous waves of the survey but in addition to considering existing themes (such as governance, funding, sustainability, PEF planning and implementation, and unintended consequences) also sought local authority perspectives of:

-developing approaches to closing the poverty-related attainment gap -the extent to which data and evidence featured in decision making at the local level, -the extent to which the Fund increased collaboration -factors supporting and mitigating progress towards closing the poverty related attainment gap within local authorities.

Views on planning and implementation of the CECYP Fund were also sought in the Local Authority Survey. The CECYP Fund is however outwith the scope of this evaluation report.

Headteacher Survey 2019: In Autumn 2019 an online survey was distributed to headteachers of schools receiving Challenge Authority, Schools Programme and PEF funding. The purpose of the survey was to provide an insight into the experiences of headteachers in relation to ASF and to understand changes over time and across different respondent groups (funding stream; urban versus rural; primary versus secondary). This was the fourth year of the survey and 1,102 headteachers responded to the survey, representing a 47% response rate. The response rate increased by seven percentage points from 40% in 2018. The inclusion of all PEF-only schools for the first time in the 2019 survey resulted in approximately 1,000 more headteachers being invited to respond in 2019 than the previous year. The full report from the survey has been published online Quantitative data on attainment and wellbeing: The report draws on measures published in the National Improvement Framework Interactive Evidence Report (NIFIER). Analysis focuses on patterns of attainment across Challenge Authorities non-Challenge Authorities and Scotland overall. The only change to reporting of attainment and wellbeing data for the Year 4 report is in relation to the Achievement of the Curriculum for Excellence Levels (ACEL) data. Previous reports did not include analysis of changes in ACEL data over time at local authority level as the data was still in development. However, with the publication of ACEL data for 2018/19 the ‘Experimental Statistics’ label has been removed and analysis of changes between 2016/17 and 2018/19 has been included.