National Improvement Framework (NIF)

We want to ensure children and young people develop a broad range of skills and capacities, whilst supporting them to thrive, regardless of their social circumstances or additional needs.

The national improvement framework and improvement plan for Scottish education is designed to help deliver the twin aims of excellence and equity in education.

This document serves as the single, definitive plan for securing educational improvement. It takes into account the information on the national improvement framework interactive evidence report.

Drivers of improvement

Six drivers of improvement have been identified in the NIF. The drivers are all equally important. The links and connections across these key areas are essential to enabling continuous improvement and minimising unintended consequences.

The key drivers of improvement are:

  1. School and ELC leadership
  2. Teacher and practitioner professionalism
  3. Parental/carer involvement and engagement
  4. Curriculum and assessment 
  5. School and ELC improvement
  6. Performance information

A lot of positive work across these areas is already underway in Scottish education. The information we gather will be analysed to identify where we can make further improvements. Those improvements will, in turn, contribute to delivering our priorities.

Find out more: National improvement framework: drivers of improvement

Further information: National improvement framework: parent communication plan

We issued a consultation in 2022 on how to ensure that key measures to assess progress towards closing the poverty related attainment gap reflects the wider ambitions of the curriculum. An analysis of the consultation and next steps were published in December 2022.

Scottish National Standardised Assessments

The National Standardised Assessments for Scotland (NSA) are a collection of formative assessment tools, designed to provide valuable diagnostic feedback to teachers on children’s progress in aspects of literacy and numeracy. The assessments are undertaken in Primary 1, Primary 4, Primary 7 and Secondary 3, and further information on them is included within the Purpose and Use document.

Scottish Ministers previously commissioned an independent review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) at Primary 1 within the overall context of the National Improvement Framework. 

The review and our response to it were published on 11 June 2019


Insight is the professional benchmarking tool for analysing attainment data in the senior phase, accessible by secondary schools and local authorities. It is designed to support self-evaluation and provide schools with their attainment information in a format that makes it straightforward to identify possible areas for improvement for young people in S4 to S6.

There are two releases of Insight per year, the first of which is in September and provides year group based attainment data for previous sessions. The February update adds initial leaver destinations data for those leaving school in the previous academic year, which allows for analysis of data on cohorts of young people at the point of exit from the Senior Phase.

Broad General Education (BGE) Benchmarking Tool

The BGE Benchmarking Tool was launched in 2018 and is available for all schools and local authorities to access on Glow. It uses data provided by local authorities on achievement of a Curriculum for Excellence level for children and young people. It is intended to support professional dialogue between local authorities and schools so they might learn from each other to improve learner outcomes. Data from the tool is also available on the School Information Dashboard.

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