Supporting headteachers

£520 million to help close attainment gap.

Scotland’s headteachers will receive more than half a billion pounds of secured funding over the next four years to help close the attainment gap.

Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) totalling £520 million will be distributed to schools in every council area to help headteachers put in place more support for children and young people.

The funding has been confirmed for multiple years to provide more certainty for headteachers and allow for longer-term planning.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Tackling the poverty-related attainment gap and giving every young person the chance to fulfil their full potential remains our priority, and we are investing an increased £1 billion through schools and local authorities over the course of this Parliament to support this ambition.

“Our headteachers and teachers know their pupils best and have told us that our measures are working. We are determined to ensure they are empowered to take the approaches that are right for the children and young people in their schools to help improve attainment.

“Our allocation of more than £520 million of PEF for the next four years will give headteachers the confidence and security they need to plan long term. However, we know schools can’t do this alone, and headteachers should work in partnership with each other, Education Scotland and their local authority, to agree the use of the funding.”

St Francis Primary School headteacher Margot MacAlister said:

“Pupil Equity Funding has been key in allowing me to deliver my vision for the community I serve. From the beginning it has provided me with stability in terms of funding posts previously reliant on my devolved budget.

“This has allowed me to build purposeful and trusting working relationships with partners over time that bring a great richness to a child’s learning experience.

“Our nurture programme and now our EXCEL programme has become embed in the culture and ethos of the school and addresses the whole child now and in the future.”


The Pupil Equity Funding is allocated directly to schools and targeted at closing the poverty related attainment gap. 97% of schools in every council area benefits from Pupil Equity Funding.

The Scottish Government is investing £1bn in the Scottish Attainment Challenge over the course of this Parliament, the £520 million of Pupil Equity Funding is part of this overall investment.

The 2020 headteacher survey found:

  • 98% headteachers felt they understood the challenges faced by pupils affected by poverty
  • 90% of headteachers reported they had seen an improvement in closing the gap in their schools in the past five years
  • 88% of headteachers expect to see improvements in closing the gap over the next five years
  • 84% of headteachers felt that the approach to achieving equity was embedded within their school

A breakdown of PEF allocations by local authority


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