Attainment Scotland Fund evaluation - Headteacher Survey: 2021 report

This report presents key findings from the sixth survey of headteachers of schools in receipt of Attainment Scotland Fund (ASF) support, covering the 2020 to 2021 academic year including the period of school building closures from January to March 2021.


1 The ASF evaluation is underpinned by the SAC Programme Logic Model, a diagrammatic planning tool that shows how the programme produces change. The SAC Logic Model has been adapted to incorporate the refreshed SAC and its mission, which encompasses child poverty, broader achievement and an increased focus on health and wellbeing and family and community support.

2 Urban/rural classification of schools was adapted from the 6-fold classification published by the Scottish Government, based on the location of the school building.

3 ‘Lower’, ‘middle’ and ‘higher’ ranges of PEF allocation are based, respectively, on the lower 25% of schools, middle 50% of schools, and upper 25% of schools in terms of PEF allocation in 2018/19.

4 Survey weighting is used to re-balance survey responses to bring them more in line with the known profile of the wider population. In this instance, and consistent with previous surveys, weights were calculated to ensure response data was more consistent with the profile of all schools in receipt of ASF support, in terms of their distribution across ASF streams and urban/rural geography.

5 Hypothesis testing is used to assess whether the difference between two survey results (such as between the current and previous survey, or between two respondent groups) is significant. Using a 5% significance level, where a difference between two results is identified as significant, this means that we can be 95% confident that the difference exists in the wider population (i.e. all schools in receipt of ASF support). We also refer to ‘a substantial proportion’ in the body of the report – while this does not have a specific statistical meaning, we use the term to refer to a relatively large minority of respondents.

6 A change in question structure for the present survey means that direct comparison of results is not possible.

7 While this survey question related specifically to how use of PEF has been tailored to meet local needs, it should be noted that comments from survey respondents referred to the importance of tailoring use of ASF support more widely to respond to local circumstances and needs – see Table 7, and further discussion at section 8.

8 The 2020 survey asked whether improvement would be “sustainable beyond the years of funding”. Previous changes to question structure limit scope for comparison with surveys prior to 2020.

9 A change in question structure limits comparison of views on access to support prior to the 2019 survey.

10 Schools in receipt of PEF and CA/SP support were asked separately about the impact of PEF funding specifically, and about the impact of the ASF support they receive as a whole. As such these schools are included in the 87% of all respondents who have seen improvement as a result of ASF support (and in the 94% who have seen improvement specifically as a result of PEF).

11 The category ‘FME’ refers to those learners whose record in SEEMiS, the national database, showed that they were registered for Free School Meals.

12 The Scottish Government did not collect Achievement of CfE Levels data for any pupils in 2019/20, and only for primary school pupils in 2020/21. For more information the publication can be found by clicking on the link.



Back to top