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.

The 2023 national improvement framework and improvement plan - summary document provides an abbreviated version of the current context for delivering improvement in 2023, and planned improvement activity for the year ahead.

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 Scottish Ministers 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

In addition, the following documents on the subject of the SNSA were published:  


Insight is a benchmarking tool designed to help bring about improvements for learners in the senior phase (S4 to S6). The system is updated twice annually, around September for attainment results, and February for school leavers' data.

It is particularly valuable to inform improvement planning, particularly following the February release, when key data for schools are updated. It provides schools with information about where a school is having the most success for pupils in the senior phase and also where improvements can be made.

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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