Attainment impact in schools

Attainment Scotland Fund evaluated.

Three-quarters of school heads believe the attainment gap has started to close and almost all expect progress in the next five years as a result of national attainment funding, new research has shown.

An evaluation has been published on the first two years of the Attainment Scotland Fund, when £52 million was targeted at schools in the most deprived areas.

It found:

  • 78% of surveyed headteachers saw improvements in tackling the attainment gap in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing as a result of the fund
  • 97% of surveyed headteachers expect to see improvements over the next five years as a result of the attainment funding
  • Wide support for the aims of the fund, with schools reporting greater collaboration and a focus on improving teaching skills and practice
  • Praise for the support provided by local authorities and Attainment Advisors in schools
  • Challenges around the reporting requirements and timescales of the fund, staffing and the wider challenges of poverty and its impact on attainment

Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said:

“The defining mission of this government is to raise school attainment and close the poverty-related gap, backed by £750 million of investment over the lifetime of this Parliament.

“It is heartening to see that progress is beginning to be made. For example Dundee’s attainment gap in reading narrowed between the first and second years of the fund. These are great results which show our course of action is the right one.

“I acknowledge the challenges to progress that exist and have been identified by schools and local authorities. We have already taken action to address these and will continue to listen to feedback.”


The Attainment Scotland Fund supports the aims of the Scottish Attainment Challenge which is to raise attainment and reduce inequity for children across Scotland.

During the first two years of the fund, £52 million was distributed to nine Challenge Authorities and 74 additional schools with the highest levels of deprivation.

The interim evaluation report of the Attainment Scotland Fund focuses on the first two years of the Attainment Scotland Fund (2015/16 and 2016/17). It does not include any evaluation of Pupil Equity Funding, which commenced in Year 3.

The interim evaluation report aims to provide learning about the overall implementation of the fund, and the extent to which the aims of the fund have been met. More widely, it will contribute to the Scottish evidence base around what works or does not work to improve attainment and close the attainment gap.


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