2018 national improvement framework and improvement plan

The framework sets out activity the Scottish Government and partners will take to drive improvement for children and young people.

Annex B - Summary of ongoing/completed activity from the 2017 Improvement Plan


Current Position

School Leadership

We will work with partners across Scottish education to support more teachers to take the step to headship including publishing a nationally agreed action plan by June 2017, further to the conclusion of the Working Group on Headteacher Recruitment.


The Working Group met until June 2017, at which point its work was paused to take into account the commitments made in Education Governance: Next Steps - Empowering Our Teachers, Parents and Communities to Deliver Excellence and Equity for Our Children published in June 2017. The Working Group is now being reconvened with renewed membership and remit, with the intention that members continue to consider headteacher recruitment alongside the development of a leadership support package and the implications of the proposed Headteachers Charter. Programme for Government also gives a commitment to develop and run a headteacher recruitment campaign in 2018.

Further to the conclusion of the governance review consultation in January 2017, we will consider leadership throughout the system, building on existing models and supporting the development of school clusters and regional models. This will support a strengthened middle and highlight the importance of collaborative leadership.


The Next Steps paper set out our plans for a range of reforms, including work to empower and support school leaders and a strengthening of support for them to take on that role. We are consulting on the legislative provision necessary to establish a Headteachers Charter which will set out the rights and responsibilities of Headteachers to empower them to be leaders of learning and teaching in their schools. It will give them greater freedom in relation to curriculum, improvement, staffing and funding.
We have worked in partnership with Education Scotland and Local Government to establish 6 Regional Improvement Collaboratives where Local Authorities will work with one another and with national agencies to support improvement on a regional basis. Regional Improvement Leads have been appointed and initial Regional Improvement Plans will be in place by January 2018.
The Leading Systems Change programme has been developed jointly between SCEL and ADES and was launched in November 2017. The programme is premised on the belief that those providing direct support to schools at the system level should have an in-depth understanding of effective school leadership practices and also understand how effective school systems operate and what enables effective system wide leadership. The programme is aimed at those who are responsible for ensuring system wide improvement through the provision of direct, day-to-day support to schools in a locale.

We will publish information about the range, quality and impact of professional learning for leadership across Scotland's schools by June 2017.


This survey was undertaken and completed by SCEL in June 2017. Its findings will be considered as part of the Scottish Government's commitment to develop an enhanced school leadership package.

We will continue to support the Scottish College for Educational Leadership in its vital role in supporting leadership development for all education practitioners across Scotland. This will include new packages of support for aspiring, new and experienced Headteachers. The Excellence in Headship programme for experienced Headteachers will be in place by March 2017 and will include professional learning opportunities to strengthen and expand school leadership skills, an international exchange programme for school leaders, and the development of a network of local champions to support Headteachers to draw on local expertise and work in partnership with the wider community.


SCEL now has a range of professional learning programmes for leadership in place, including Excellence in Headship which incorporates Columba 1400 Leadership Academies for headteachers. The Scottish Government, Education Scotland and SCEL will build on this and will develop an enhanced support package in 2018 to build the capacity of teachers and school leaders.

We remain committed to supporting the Into Headship programme which supports up to 160 aspiring Headteachers each year through 2018/19. This will represent an investment of £1.5m from 2016 onwards.


176 teachers are currently on cohort 3 of the Into Headship programme and are being supported with £528,000 of Scottish Government funding. We are committed to supporting teachers who want to take the step to headship and we will continue to fund the Into Headship programme.

We will make holding the Standard for Headship mandatory for all new Headteachers by August 2019. We are currently consulting on the legislation that will achieve this.


Consultation on draft regulations closed on 20 March 2017. Further to representations from local authorities the Scottish Government agreed to delay the regulations coming into force until August 2020 to allow more teachers to have completed the Into Headship programme and for employers to plan at a local level.

We will collect and analyse relevant information on school leadership from inspection and local authority self-evaluation by December 2017.


We will continue to collect and analyse relevant information on school leadership from inspection and local authority self-evaluation and use this on an ongoing basis to inform targeted support and engagement through regional improvement collaboratives.

Teacher Professionalism

In 2017, we will take forward a range of actions under our STEM strategy to raise levels of STEM enthusiasm, skills, and knowledge including new and enhanced STEM Career-Long Professional Learning for practitioners. This will include a greater emphasis on connecting STEM learning in schools and centres and development of STEM skills to the world of work.


Scotland's STEM Education and Training Strategy was published on 26 October 2017. Spanning the period from 2017 to 2022, the strategy outlines actions designed to inspire enthusiasm for STEM among all sectors of society. Key measures include strengthening the delivery of STEM education, addressing unconscious bias and gender stereotyping, and ensuring the development of skills that meet employers' needs

109 teaching students at Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde took up the offer of studying for the Catholic Teacher Certificate during 2016 and building on this success we will again look to support this initiative in 2017.


We are currently discussing with the University of Glasgow the possibility of repeating the programme in 2018 while extending its reach to a wider range of Scottish Universities.

We will encourage more people into early learning and childcare and teaching, particularly those groups under-represented in teaching (men and minority ethnic communities) as well as in particular subjects ( STEM) and geographical areas. In early 2017 we will extend our teacher recruitment campaign, building on the positive work of the current campaign, to address these issues.


A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland – 2017-18 Action Plan' published in March 2017 sets out the actions being taken to attract a high quality and diverse workforce into Early Learning and Childcare. For example, phase one of the recruitment campaign, to attract additional high quality and diverse workers to the sector, was launched in October 2017. The campaign will continue throughout 2018 and beyond. The Plan also includes a commitment to develop a national on-line continuous professional learning module on staff skills, knowledge and confidence in delivering learning in STEM.
Our teacher recruitment campaign "Teaching Makes People" commenced in February 2017, specifically targeting undergraduates studying STEM subjects, as well as people currently working in STEM industries. A refreshed campaign was launched on 30 August 2017 which continues the focus on STEM subjects, while also targeting English and Home Economics. Student teacher numbers have risen by 7.5% between 2016 and 2017, building on a 19% increase from the previous year.

From Autumn 2018 we will extend support for Masters in Early Years to provide leadership in this sector.


We have funded the Masters in early years pedagogy courses at Strathclyde and Aberdeen universities for a further year to August 2018. We are working with both universities to consider what increased support would be helpful from August 2018. That will be informed by a survey of past and present masters students to understand the benefits to their practice of undertaking the masters course and their career destinations.

We are working with the University of Edinburgh to develop a Scottish Masters programme for Initial Teacher Education in 2016/17 covering primary and secondary allowing a clear focus on transition between primary and secondary.


This programme has now started with the first cohort of 31 students starting their studies in August 2017.

In 2016 we supported teachers' professional learning through an investment of close to £1 million in Masters level learning. In 2017 we will again consider how best to support high quality professional learning for teachers. We will also carry out a research project to be completed by December 2017 to evaluate the impact of this substantial long-term investment in masters level learning for teachers.


A research project on masters level learning has not yet been taken forward. Evaluation of professional learning, including masters level learning, will now be considered by the Strategic Board for Teacher Education ( SBTE) to ensure that investment in this area has the maximum impact. We will ensure regional improvement collaboratives inform that process.

Alongside this work, we will significantly streamline the current range of guidance and related material on Curriculum for Excellence, based on feedback from teachers. By January 2017, a new, much simpler set of key resources will be available on the new National Improvement Hub.


Benchmarks were published on Education Scotland's National Improvement Hub on 23 March 2017 with accompanying guidance and exemplification. ES will continue to refine, refresh and update guidance and support materials to make them as useful and accessible as possible.

We will introduce a new training and induction programme for childminders to support the development of skills and training for all childminders working in the early learning and childcare sector by September 2017.


Your Childminding Journey – a learning and development resource was published on 26 September 2017. This resource will help potential childminders identify the skills and knowledge needed for the role and guide them through the registration process. It will also support existing childminders by helping them to identify areas for professional development.

We will work with Education Scotland and GTCS to undertake a review of Initial Teacher Education programmes to report by April 2017, to ensure that they provide appropriate detail on content for literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, data literacy and equality across both primary and secondary sectors.


The content analysis of teacher education in Scotland was published in May 2016. The Scottish Government has now asked Education Scotland to work with the universities and GTCS to develop a self-evaluation framework for quality in ITE focusing on literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing and additional support needs. This will be available in the current academic year.

We will work with Initial Teacher Education providers, GTCS and other key partners to address issues of staffing supply and capacity at a national level in order to support the Scottish Attainment Challenge. On 30 November 2016 we announced that 11 new routes to teaching would be developed targeting shortage subjects including STEM, and geographical areas by Scottish universities, and that this development work would be supported by £1 million of Scottish Government funding. These new routes will be developed with the expectation that students will be recruited to them in 2017 and will include accelerated teacher education, expanded distance learning opportunities, a focus on strengthening skills of primary teachers in science and developing specialisms in transition between primary and secondary schools.


In November 2016 the Deputy First Minister announced that £1m of Scottish Attainment Challenge funding would be provided to develop new routes into the teaching profession – particularly focusing on priority Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths ( STEM) subjects, targeted help for former teachers looking to return into the profession and the development of teachers able to work in both primary and secondary schools.

By the end of January 2018 around 280 students will be studying on one of the new routes. In 2018 we will continue to consider ways in which routes into teaching can be diversified.

We will develop a new teacher education training route which is focused on getting high quality graduates into priority areas and subjects. This will be in place by Summer 2017. This will build on the model developed in partnership with the University of Aberdeen to attract career changers to the profession.


Across 2017 we have invested in creating 11 new routes to teaching involving all universities in Scotland that offer initial teacher education courses. A tender process for this additional new route is now underway and we expect to award a contract in January 2018.

We will provide development funding for the 2017/18 academic year to the University of the Highlands and Islands to build on its model of delivering Initial Teacher Education through local colleges.


We have supported UHI to deliver a new route to teaching for Home Economics bases in Perth College. This will start in August 2018 and will primarily recruit students from existing college programmes.

We will maintain our strong focus on Gaelic teacher supply with promotional campaigns which will be led in 2017 by Bòrd na Gàidhlig; innovative courses such as Gaelic Immersion for Teachers ( GIFT) and Streap, which support teachers who wish to transfer to Gaelic teaching; and new routes into Gaelic teaching being introduced by the University of Edinburgh, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and the University of the Highlands and Islands.


This work continues. Working with Bòrd na Gàidhlig and partners we will:

  • increase immersion opportunities on innovative courses such as Gaelic Immersion for Teachers ( GIFT) and Streap;
  • support routes into Gaelic teaching being taken forward at the University of Edinburgh, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and the University of the Highlands and Islands;
  • work to identify further opportunities to provide teacher training and CPD through e-Learning, such as eSgoil;
  • fund the Teacher Recruitment Officer post at Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

With these measures in place we have 30-35 new teachers coming through annually.

We will develop professional standards for employability and enterprise by June 2017 to support practitioner learning in relation to Developing the Young Workforce 2016/17.


Professional standards are in place.

We will work with GTCS to provide more support to teachers on equality issues through Career Long Professional Learning to be in place by August 2017.


This work is now being taken forward as part of the SG response to the Time for Inclusive Education ( TIE) campaign

Parental Engagement

Education Scotland will continue to provide support on family learning, taking full account of its review of the evidence on family learning programmes, expected to report in December 2016.


The family learning review was published in December 2016. ES has provided ongoing support for local authorities and education practitioners on family learning throughout 2017. This has included, for example, the delivery of learning events within authorities and the provision of online professional learning resources through the National Improvement Hub.

Education Scotland will introduce revised pre-inspection questionnaires for parents from January 2017. This will help improve the range and quality of the feedback from parents on their involvement in and satisfaction with their child's early learning and childcare setting or school.


Education Scotland has introduced revised pre-inspection questionnaires for parents in 2017. These include questions which will improve the range and quality of the feedback from parents on their involvement in and satisfaction with their child's early learning and childcare setting or school.

We will respond in full to the National Parent Forum of Scotland ( NPFS) review of the Scottish Schools (Parental Involvement) Act 2006 – final recommendations are expected in March 2017. The Scottish Government's response will be considered in the context of our education governance review, which will have a strong focus on supporting parents to play a full role in the life and work of their child's school.


The Deputy First Minister welcomed the NPFS's report at its launch in May 2017. The Next Steps paper contains a clear commitment to modernise, strengthen and extend Scotland's parental involvement legislation in line with Recommendations 1 and 2 of the NPFS's report. This was followed by a formal initial response to the National Parent Forum, issued in September 2017, which accepted all of the national recommendations and committed to develop a National Action Plan on Parental Engagement and Family Learning. The same commitment was contained within the 2017/18 Programme for Government. The Action Plan will set out detailed actions to deliver the recommendations from the 2006 Act Review. The Scottish Government is currently working with NPFS, ADES, COSLA, GTCS and other key partners to develop the content of the Action Plan, which will be published in Spring 2018.

We will introduce a new Education Bill in the second year of this Parliament. Building on the responses to the governance and parental involvement reviews, a consultation on a Bill will be held early in 2017.


Work is underway to introduce an Education Bill in the second year of this Parliament. The Bill will put in place the legislative underpinning necessary to support the implementation of the Next Steps paper. A consultation on the proposed provisions of this Bill is underway and closes on 30 January 2018.

We will promote the opportunities afforded by the development of extended childcare to provide family and employability support for parents by June 2017.

We will also work with local authorities to understand the nature of parental demand for early learning and childcare in their areas, so that provision of additional free hours can be sufficiently flexible to respond to need. This will include the development of opportunities for further integration with additional hours and out-of-school care and the provision of family and employability support to parents by June 2017.


This work is progressing as part of the development of wider policy design. It will explore, including through the programme of early learning and childcare ( ELC) delivery model trials (which commenced from January 2017), potential delivery models that more closely link expanded ELC provision with wider family services (including employability support). An evaluation of the trials will be published by summer 2018.
We have been engaging with all local authorities both individually and through a series of workshops to support them with their expansion plans, including increasing flexibility and how this is integrated with additional hours and out of school care. Local authority delivery plans should be informed by their local consultation.
In summer 2017 we commissioned a national parent survey to understand current and future demand for ELC. The results will be published in December 2017 and learning shared with local authorities.

We will roll out the new Baby Boxes programme from January 2017 as another route to ensure that materials and advice are provided to new parents. This pilot starts in two local authorities in January 2017. The full programme starts in June 2017.


Registration for Scotland's Baby Box opened on 15 June. Delivery began on 15 August with parents across Scotland now receiving Baby Boxes at least 4 weeks before the baby's due date. Year Two procurement is now underway. The launch of 'Baby Box 2' is planned for next Autumn with national roll-out of the new design and contents on target for delivery from November 2018.

We will further improve ParentZone – the national online resource for parents – by August 2018. We will publish additional clear information on each school on a range of key measures, such as attendance rates, children's progress and grades from school inspection.


We will introduce enhancements to the reporting of school level information through ParentZone Scotland in early 2018, significantly ahead of the scheduled August 2018 deadline.

By the end of January 2017, we will provide national guidance to local authorities and schools to improve the consistency and quality of reporting to parents about their children's progress and achievement.


In January 2017 we provided national guidance to local authorities and schools to improve the consistency and quality of reporting to parents about their children's progress and achievement.

We will continue to deliver and improve our national campaigns and gifting programmes to parents and families across Scotland – Bookbug, PlayTalkRead and Read, Write, Count – providing advice and materials to parents to support their children's learning from an early age and extend the Read, Write, Count Programme into P4-7 in areas of high deprivation from April 2017.


The 2017 gift packs for Bookbug and Read, Write, Count were distributed on schedule to local authorities and schools. The majority of gift packs were gifted home to families during Book Week Scotland (late November/early December 2017). Further social marketing activity for Read, Write, Count progressed during autumn 2017, linking with the broader Parent Club campaign.

We will continue to implement our Parental Communication Plan for the National Improvement Framework. This will include collaborative work with the National Parent Forum of Scotland in early 2017 to make available a range of parent-friendly information about the Framework and the drivers of improvement.


The development of specific guides on each driver within the NIF was postponed in order to reflect any updates to the NIF arising from the annual review of it. Further actions were delivered to support parent-friendly information about the NIF, including:

  • On-going promotion of the NPFS' "Nutshell" publication on the NIF to a variety of networks and forums and to schools via the National Improvement Hub.
  • In order to support two-way communication with parents about the NIF, the Scottish Government and the NPFS issued a parent-friendly NIF questionnaire in autumn 2017, receiving 2,477 responses. The evidence gathered from the questionnaire will also help to inform future communication plans about the NIF.
  • The website for the Scottish National Standardised Assessments includes a range of practical information for parents. This information reflects the principles within the NIF Communication Plan as well as earlier Scottish Government Q&A documents.
  • Scottish Government and Education Scotland engaged with a variety of parent organisations throughout 2017 in order to provide updates and information about the NIF.

We will work with Scottish Attainment Challenge authorities to develop progressive family learning programmes by the end of 2017 and roll out this approach by the end of 2018.


All Scottish Attainment Challenge Authorities have developed and are implementing progressive family learning programmes to close the poverty-related attainment gap. We will continue to work with other authorities to roll out this approach in 2018.

Assessment of children's progress

We will ensure that nurseries in the most disadvantaged areas in Scotland benefit from an additional teacher or degree qualified early learning and childcare professional from August 2018.


435 additional teachers or graduates will be required to deliver the commitment, with all local authorities receiving at least 1 additional Full-Time Equivalent staffing resource. In order to deliver this, the Scottish Government is investing £1.5m in 2017-18 to fund additional places for teacher training and the BA Childhood Practice award and will provide ongoing revenue funding. To ensure that this commitment benefits as many children as possible, local authorities have flexibility in how they allocate their additional teachers or graduates across settings - all local authorities have prepared Action Plans setting out how they plan to do this. Local authorities will provide two implementation progress updates (by end February 2018 and by end June 2018) ahead of the roll out of the commitment in August 2018.

By August 2017, we will develop and implement a package of support for all schools in Scotland to strengthen attachment, resilience and mental wellbeing in children and young people. This will be evidence-based and include interventions that support the link between physical activity and mental wellbeing.


The Mental Health Strategy was launched 30 March 2017 and includes an action to review personal and social ( PSE) education and the role of pastoral guidance in schools, and services for counseling for children and young people. The remit and scope for this review has been agreed. Phase 1 of the review is complete with the publication of a desk study on guidance available to teachers on personal and social education. The school visit review process commenced in October with the aim of visiting a number of school and early year facilities by the end March 2018. Following the visits, analysis will be undertaken and draft improvement actions and recommendations will be offered to Ministers. Overall the plan is to complete this review by the end of 2018.

In addition to the benchmark guidance for literacy and numeracy published in August, we will provide similar advice on the achievement of curriculum levels for the remaining curriculum areas, by the end of 2016.


Benchmarks were published on the National Improvement Hub on 23 March 2017 with accompanying guidance and exemplification.

From April 2017 an additional £100 million per annum will be allocated directly to schools on the basis of free school meals eligibility. This new funding will reach at least 95 per cent of schools in Scotland and will be supported by:

  • an operational framework which will support schools in their spending decisions and set out our approach to distribution, monitoring impact and reporting on improving individual children's progress;
  • development of a Scotland specific learning and teaching toolkit providing strategies which are proven to help to close the poverty-related attainment gap;
  • a series of regional engagement events which every Headteacher in Scotland will be invited to. These events will take place in February and March 2017. This will enable us to work with Headteachers directly and give them advice and support on using pupil equity funding to close the poverty-related attainment gap in their context.


In April 2017, £120m of Pupil Equity Funding ( PEF) was allocated directly to schools for Headteachers to spend at their discretion on additional staffing and resources targeted at closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Every council area is benefitting from PEF and 95% of schools in Scotland have been allocated funding for pupils in P1-S3. It is supported by:

  • PEF National Operational Guidance which sets the guidelines and supports schools to plan how they will most effectively invest their PEF allocation to improve the educational outcomes of children affected by poverty.
  • a Scotland specific learning and teaching toolkit providing strategies which are proven to help to close the poverty-related attainment gap was made available in February 2017.
  • seven PEF regional Headteacher events took place in February and March 2017. These events – which every Headteacher in Scotland was invited to attend - enabled the Scottish Government to work with Headteachers directly and give them advice and support on using PEF to close the poverty-related attainment gap in their context.

A further series of PEF events will take place in February and March 2018 – seven events across the six regional improvement collaboratives who will be heavily involved in shaping them. By this time individual school PEF allocations for 2018/19 will be confirmed.

We will continue to support the Scottish Attainment Challenge authorities and schools and a number of national programmes, including staffing supply and capacity, professional learning and school leadership with £50 million per annum from the Attainment Scotland Fund.


In July 2017 the Deputy First Minister announced £45m of funding to support nine Scottish Attainment Challenge Authorities and 72 individual schools on the Schools Programme. Each has developed improvement plans tailored to their own circumstances, detailing the actions they will take to close the poverty-related attainment gap.

We will implement the Getting it Right for Looked After Children Strategy in full. We will take a tailored approach to young people who most need support, increasing positive destinations from school for looked after children by 4 percentage points per annum, resulting in parity by 2021.


The Getting It Right for Looked After Children and Young People Strategy sets out our approach to improving outcomes for looked after children, and the Programme for Government details how we will continue to improve support and protection for our children and young people. 2015/16 data on educational outcomes for looked after children shows 71% in positive follow up destinations 9 months after leaving school. This is an increase of 2 percentage points from 2014/15. 2016/17 data will publish in June 2018. We will continue to focus on improving the outcomes for those with care experience, through Developing the Young Workforce, our youth employment strategy, and the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access.

We will implement our refreshed youth justice strategy: Preventing Offending – Getting it Right for Children and Young People. Our priorities will be to advance the whole system approach, improving life chances and developing capacity and improvement in the workforce. We will report on progress by June 2017.


The importance of prevention and early intervention to improve life chances for children and young people involved in or at risk of offending has been reaffirmed by the progress report on implementation of the youth justice strategy, published in June, and Justice in Scotland: Vision and Priorities, published in July. An evidence led approach focussing on the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences is a key part of collaborative work with partners through the Youth Justice Improvement Board and community based partnerships.

We will begin work in 2016/17 on a strategy for families with disabled children, linking to activity to develop the Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategy.


The content of the "Supporting Disabled Children, Young People and their Families Framework" will go forward to public consultation in early 2018 with a specific focus on engagement with disabled children and young people and those with multiple protected characteristics. The Framework itself will be published in Autumn 2018 as part of the Year of the Young Person.

From January 2017 we will implement the Making Maths Count report recommendations to encourage greater enthusiasm for, and a greater understanding of, the value of mathematics amongst children and young people, their parents, carers and the wider public.


The ten Making Maths Count recommendations are at different stages of implementation. A significant milestone was reached with the successful delivery of the first annual Maths Week Scotland in September 2017. The Scottish Government and Education Scotland are working with a range of partners on delivering the recommendations and the National Profile-Raising Group for Mathematics, which continues to meet to monitor implementation.

We will drive forward the actions in our new Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy throughout 2017, with a view to delivering the Strategy's vision of using technology to improve attainment across the Curriculum in the next 3-5 years.


In March 2017, Education Scotland published refreshed curriculum guidance on digital technology including, for the first time, explicit expectations relating to Digital Literacy. We continue to work in partnership with key organisations to bring improvements to school connectivity and teacher confidence in the use of technology.

We will deliver the new Universal Pathway for Health Visitors including the new Child Health Reviews to support early intervention and prevention in those crucial early years. This work is already underway. During 2017 and within the parameters of legislation, we will examine arrangements for information sharing to facilitate appropriate data sharing between professionals on children's progress from the early years onwards.


We continue to monitor the progress of implementation of the new Universal Pathway for Health Visitors including all Child Health Reviews to support early intervention and prevention in those crucial early years. We are working with NHS Boards to explore how uptake of the 27-30 month review can be further improved, and where variation in uptake across Scotland can be reduced.

We know that there is no legal impediment to the sharing of information from the 27-30 month review with early years settings where there are concerns about a child. We know that this information sharing already happens in some cases – most commonly with parental consent. We need to make that information sharing more systemic in order to better support and protect our most vulnerable children. We will do further work in 2018 to build on examples of existing good practice both in improving uptake and addressing concerns identified, and testing how to work in partnership with parents to share appropriate and proportionate information with nurseries and early years partners. Good practice guidance will be influenced and refined in light of the work being taken forward by the Getting it Right for Every Child Practice Development Panel who are overseeing the development of a Code of Practice on information sharing.

Carry out implementation testing of new standardised assessment materials in schools across Scotland between December 2016 and May 2017. The results will inform teachers' professional judgement of children's achievement of Curriculum for Excellence levels.


Implementation testing began in local authorities in December 2016. Further trialing of the IT platform and assessment materials took place in schools in some local authorities in February 2017. This informed the development of the system which was further showcased across local authorities before the assessments were available to schools in August 2017.

We will consider and agree requirements for standardised assessment for Gaelic Medium Education by June 2017. These assessments will be available in August 2018.


Specification for Gaelic Medium Education National Standardised Assessments was agreed in summer 2017 and tendering for a contractor is almost complete. Contract award for delivery of assessments will be made during December 2017 and we remain on track to have GME National Standardised Assessments available to schools in August 2018.

We will provide moderation and support for teachers' professional judgement from October 2016; ensuring that practitioners have a common understanding of expectations in literacy and numeracy across all curriculum areas.

Ongoing and on track. Education Scotland will continue to provide support to improve further the consistency and effectiveness of moderation of teachers' professional judgement across the country.

In December 2016 we will publish plans for gathering information about the health and wellbeing of children and young people including the data gathered at early years stages.


Ministers have agreed that work toward introducing a new Health and Wellbeing data collection of children and young people in late primary stages upwards should be progressed throughout 2018, with the aim of first conducting this exercise in the 2019/20 academic year.

We will develop a framework for educational interventions and strategies to improve attainment in December 2016, including practical strategies and approaches to building positive attitudes, confidence and capability in literacy and numeracy for all children and young people regardless of background and circumstance.


In January 2017 the Deputy First Minister announced the establishment of Interventions for Equity, an online framework on the National Improvement Hub which has been developed to support schools in the use of Scottish Attainment Challenge Pupil Equity Funding. It is based on a range of interventions and approaches that are currently being used in schools across Scotland. Additionally, in February 2017 the Scottish Government partnered with the Education Endowment Foundation to launch a Scottish specific version of their Teaching and Learning toolkit. In the coming year this toolkit will continue to evolve and be refreshed with links to Scotland specific examples on top of wider international evidence.

We will appoint an independent Commissioner for Fair Access to act as a powerful voice for our most disadvantaged learners. We will ensure that by 2030, students from the 20 per cent most deprived areas make up 20 per cent of higher education entrants


The Commissioner for Fair Access will publish his first annual report in December 2017. Implementation of the recommendations of the Commission for Fair Access is being taken forward by the newly established Access Delivery Group, which is chaired by the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science. The Scottish Funding Council's University Outcome Agreement guidance has been updated to reflect the Government's targets for progress.

We will retain the Education Maintenance Allowance ( EMA) as an entitlement to ensure that school pupils, college students and young people on Activity Agreements from financially disadvantaged households can receive support to overcome any financial barriers to remain in learning.


EMA is a demand-driven entitlement and Scottish Ministers continue to provide support to all young people who are eligible. The programme was expanded in January 2016 to increase household income thresholds and also include part-time college students for the first time.

We will continue to provide, through the Developing the Young Workforce programme, more opportunities for young people to experience high quality, work-related learning, and to gain vocational qualifications. We will increase the percentage of school leavers attaining vocational qualifications at SCQF level 5 and above by the end of school year 2020/21.


The Scottish Government has committed to further expansion of college provision for school pupils, including Foundation Apprenticeships. There has been a positive increase in the number of school leavers achieving vocational qualifications since the start of the programme. 7% of 2013/14 school leavers achieved a vocational qualification. This increased to 9% of school leavers in 2014/15 and increased again to 10.7% of 2015/16 school leavers. This data is published annually in June each year.

School improvement

We will publish a Quality Action Plan for Early Learning and Childcare ( ELC) in summer 2017 to underpin the expansion of ELC entitlement to 1,140 hours by 2020. This will include actions on vital issues including the coherence of the Early Level, Transitions, Play and links between ELC and parent/family support.


Quality Action Plan for Early Learning and Childcare ( ELC) was published at the end of October 2017. Developed in close consultation with a Quality Reference Group, it sets out 15 actions to strength the quality of the child's ELC experience and ensure that the ELC offer helps close the poverty-related gap in child outcomes.

We will remove mandatory unit assessments for National 5, Highers and Advanced Highers on a phased basis over a three-year period from school year 2017/18. This will reduce workload for teachers and young people.


The removal of mandatory unit assessment for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher was announced in September 2016. Mandatory unit assessments have been removed from National 5 for 2017/18, and preparations are underway for the removal of unit assessments from Higher from 2018/19 onward.

From January 2017, we will work with teachers and local authority colleagues to gain a clear understanding of Curriculum for Excellence achievement of a level data and senior phase assessment data available through Insight. Using this data we will work together to drive improvements in learner outcomes at local level, particularly through the Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative.


The Insight benchmarking tool continues to support the evaluation of improved outcomes for young people in the senior phase and is contributing to understanding the impact of curriculum design in Broad General Education. Work is ongoing to increase capacity and capability across Scotland's professional education sector in the use of Insight, as well as helping to inform and embed school improvement activity at local level.
A BGE Improvement Tool is also in development. This will allow local authorities and regional improvement collaboratives to analyse achievement of CfE level data in a consistent way, using a number of pupil characteristics considered to have an influence on attainment. The Tool will be launched in early 2018.
November 2017 saw the second Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative Learning Session, which brought together over 700 teachers, leaders and professionals to share learning to deliver improvement. Data is key to improvement methodology and school level data is being used to drive improvements in learner outcomes in schools and local authorities.

Throughout 2017, we will intensify our programme for reducing workload in schools based on ideas contributed by teacher associations and other partners in education. Inspection teams will continue to challenge unnecessary bureaucracy and offer practical assistance to schools and local authorities including supporting the use of school improvement planning to tackle bureaucracy by June 2017.


ES published a review of local authorities' actions to tackle unnecessary bureaucracy and undue workload in schools in September 2016. Inspection teams continue to challenge unnecessary bureaucracy within schools and local authorities, particularly in areas such as planning and reporting. Education Scotland advice on school improvement planning, published in December 2016, had a clear focus on ensuring manageable, measurable improvement planning is in place. Advice clearly states that 'an effective improvement plan will consist of a small number of well-considered priorities'.

School inspections and other Education Scotland evaluative activity will, from September 2016, be more focused on the priorities within the National Improvement Framework. We will gather evidence on the quality of learning, teaching and assessment, progress in raising attainment and achievement, and the leadership of change through school inspection.


In September 2016, Education Scotland commenced a new model of inspection in primary and secondary schools, using new Quality Indicators ( QI). HMI use these QIs in each inspection to gather robust evidence on the quality of learning, teaching and assessment, progress in raising attainment and achievement, and the leadership of change. This is included in the 2017 NIF Evidence Report.

We will support the continuing growth of Gaelic Medium Education in schools by implementing new rights for parents and by providing more resources for teachers and learners, by February 2017.


Legislation granting new rights for parents was introduced in February 2017. We continue to support the continuing growth of GME in schools by implementing new rights for parents, working with Bòrd na Gàidhlig to produce Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education and providing resources for teachers and learners.

Inspections in early learning and childcare settings, schools and learning communities will contribute to professional learning and capacity building to support the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence; and provide evidence on implementation by June 2017.


Professional dialogue to support continuous improvement is a central part of ES inspection practice. This takes place with staff, pupils, parents and partners. Dialogue with senior leaders is a daily part of work to understand the context of the school and to provide appropriate support and challenge for continuous improvement. Dedicated time for professional dialogue with practitioners and teachers is built into each inspection model, providing specific time for inspectors to support and challenge the thinking of teachers and practitioners and help them plan next steps for improvement.

Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate will develop a single shared inspection model for early learning and childcare and ensure that each service will only be subject to a single inspection per cycle - by the end of 2018.

We will expect all schools to have clear strategies in place across the curriculum in school year 2016/17 to reduce the attainment gap in their context.


This expectation has been shared widely though bulletins, conferences, network events and professional dialogue. Inspectors evaluate how well schools are at raising attainment and achievement on each inspection, including a theme of equity for all learners.
Education Scotland supports all local authorities through Attainment Advisors and others working strategically with authorities and collaboratively with schools. A strong focus has been on developing staff confidence to use a range of relevant data in order to make better informed decisions regarding the approaches needed to improve levels of attainment in literacy and numeracy. Health and wellbeing is being progressed through a range of approaches, including nurture and nutrition. A growing focus on families and communities continues to evolve as an important component within planning. Attainment Advisors have been instrumental in establishing positive relationships and professional partnerships in order to facilitate decision-making.

Developing the Young Workforce will continue to be a focus of inspection and review activity across all sectors. In school year 2016/17 there will be a specific focus on how well the Career Education Standard (3-18) and the Work Placements Standard are being implemented.


This has been an ongoing feature of ES inspection work over 2016/17. A copy of the full report is available in pdf format. Key findings include that senior staff in schools, local authorities and SDS careers staff are using the Career Education Standard 3-18 ( CES), the Work Placement Standard ( WPS) and Guidance on School/Employer Partnerships as a platform to promote and develop DYW in their schools. The use of the standards and the guidance to align and co-ordinate activity is still at an early stage. There is a need to increase the pace of implementation in the use of the standards and guidance.

In September 2017, we will gather information from 2016/17 school inspections and other evaluative activity on the quality of learning, teaching and assessment, progress in raising attainment and achievement, and the quality of partnerships.


ES has commenced the new model of inspection in primary and secondary schools, using new Quality Indicators ( QI). HMI use these QIs in each inspection to gather robust evidence on the quality of learning, teaching and assessment, progress in raising attainment and achievement, and the leadership of change.

We will extend the reach and impact of the Attainment Advisers, through regional alignment, to promote collaboration and joint delivery across local authorities from October 2016. Using the data available from the Framework, the Attainment Adviser team will work directly with schools where they can make the biggest difference to accelerate efforts to close the gap. Educational leadership of the programme will be extended through a new Chief Adviser role.


An online Scottish Attainment Challenge Community on Glow Yammer is being used to encourage the sharing of ideas and projects. ES are working with Attainment Advisors to consider how best to work in the suggested regional improvement collaborative areas and to better share practice, skills and expertise. This is being considered in the wider context of ES moving to increase its regional focus and consideration will be given to other resources and staff and how best to deploy them alongside Attainment Advisors.
Educational leadership of the programme was extended initially through the use of senior ES staff until the appointment of an interim Chief Inspector in June 2017 and very recently appointed Chief Inspector (December 2017).

We will develop by June 2017 a new Standards and Evaluation Framework, which will set out clear expectations for schools and the focus and frequency of school inspection.


ES is planning to finalise the SEF early next year. This will enable ES to engage with key stakeholders (eg ADES & COSLA) on the document and ensure it aligns with other key documents.

We will, by the end of 2017, support the publication of school-level reporting for parents and communities against their own action plans.


ES will publish support for school-level reporting for parents and communities in early 2018. This guidance will emphasise the need for reports to be based on a range of evidence and created in collaboration between schools and their partners. These reports will address the new requirements arising from NIF, Scottish Attainment Challenge and the Statutory Guidance published in March 2016.

Performance information

From February 2017, we will roll out training in the use of the standardised assessment tool to equip teachers with the necessary data literacy skills to identify areas for improvement.


Tailored training packages for local authorities have been developed with SCHOLAR, who are part of the ACER partner group delivering the Scottish National Standardised Assessments. Training is taking place across all 32 local authorities in 2017/18 at times agreed with individual local authorities to ensure they have the training they need at the time they need it.

We will engage with key stakeholders by end June 2017 to discuss plans to reduce the attainment gap, together with any possible milestones towards delivery.


Consultation paper on proposals for measuring the poverty-related gap and milestones towards closing it issued in October 2017 and closed on 20 November 2017. Proposals for taking this important work forward have been published within the 2018 NIF & Improvement Plan.

We will publish by December 2016 a research strategy that makes clear the gaps in our evidence base and how these gaps will be filled. We will continue to extend the use of research to underpin the interventions and strategies used in classrooms to close the gap as part of the research strategy. This will include the creation of a national forum for academics and practitioners to come together to ensure that cutting-edge evidence is being implemented in practice, informed by the International Council of Education Advisers.


Strategy published in April 2017. First meeting of the Research Strategy Reference Group held in October 2017.

We will review the learning journey for all 16-24 year olds to ensure that education provision for young people is as effective and efficient as possible and provides more stepping stones for those needing most support from September 2016.


The 15-24 Learner Journey Review has been underway throughout 2017, looking at how to make young people's learning from 15-24 more relevant, coherent and effective. The outcomes from Stage 1 of the review will be published in 2018, along with options for future implementation.

We will share evidence by February 2017 of what is working in helping us achieve the four key priorities and where further research or evaluation is needed.


NIF Evidence report published in December 2016.

We will publish in May 2017 the literacy results from the 2016 Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy. Given the implementation of the National Improvement Framework and the data that it provides, this is the final set of results from the SSLN


The final set of SSLN results were published in May 2017. The new national measure of literacy and numeracy performance in the Broad General Education is Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels data.

We will consider further evidence in particular from early years, Developing the Young Workforce and on health and wellbeing to use in the National Improvement Framework by December 2017.


We have considered further evidence in particular from early years, Developing the Young Workforce and on health and wellbeing to inform the 2018 NIF and Improvement Plan.
As part of the Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Action Plan we are looking at what we can do to improve the quality and accessibility of evidence across the life course with respect to health and wellbeing. This will be published during the 2018 Year of Young People.

We will publish a draft information 'dashboard' covering the broad general education by summer 2017, making detailed performance information available to teachers and local authorities.


The focus of activity has been on ensuring that a school level information dashboard is ready for launch in early 2018. This is on track. It has involved extensive consultation with key stakeholder interests and the focus has been on refining the final version rather than on development of an early, incomplete and potentially misleading draft.

We will host an international conference on improvement and the use of performance information before July 2017 to learn about other approaches to using knowledge and high quality data for improvement.


The first international conference on improvement was held at the Glasgow Science Centre on 22 September 2017. Speakers included members of the Scottish Government's International Council of Education Advisers, and the overall feedback from those who attended the event was extremely positive.

To support current legislation we will publish, in March 2017, statutory guidance to support local authorities in carrying out their duties to plan and report on the National Improvement Framework, including advice on how they use performance information for this purpose.


The statutory guidance was published on 27 March 2017 titled "Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 ".


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