Attainment Scotland Fund evaluation: thematic evaluation summary report 2024

This report provides a summary of three thematic aspects of evaluation from year 1 of the new Attainment Scotland Fund evaluation. It provides an introduction to the thematic evaluation strand, a summary of the three thematic areas and a concluding section bringing together the interconnections.


Analytical activity has progressed in Year 1 on the thematic strands of families and communities, readiness to learn and children and young people’s engagement in decision-making/voice with an overall aim to provide learning and increase the evidence base on ‘what works and what could be improved, for whom, and in what circumstances’ at the thematic level.

This summary report brings together an overview ‘stock-take’ on progress on each of the thematic evaluation strand as we seek to engage in a deeper dive within the selected outcome areas in the Logic Model. Further detail is provided in the individual companion reports.

There are also clear connections and cross cutting themes between the three thematic areas:

  • Families and communities are to an extent a broad umbrella area of thematic focus with the exploration of this theme helping to illustrate where readiness to learn and engagement in decision-making/voice are connected.
  • Families and communities can be seen as an over-arching theme within which a range of engagement activities are being carried out.
  • Initiatives and approaches designed to support readiness to learn are often linked to family and community approaches. This includes, for example, Home Link teams working to support engagement/re-engagement in learning, Engagement Officer approaches, nurture, and partnerships with third sector organisations providing bespoke interventions to support children, young people and families in their readiness to learn.

On the Families and Communities theme, the evaluation evidence points to an embedding of these approaches through local authorities’ use of the ASF to support engagement and support for families and communities. Whilst the thematic focus on Families and Communities in the ASF Evaluation is now complete, there will continue to be a focus on parents/carers, families and communities through the Engagement in Decision-making/Voice and Readiness to Learn themes.

On the Readiness to Learn theme, a number of areas of exploration are in progress or planned. This includes further exploration to establish a greater shared understanding of the term readiness to learn, continuing to explore children and young people’s perspectives, and building aspects related to readiness to learn into the impact evaluation.

In terms of continued consideration of the Engagement in Decision-making theme, we will continue to progress this in relation to children and young people’s engagement in decision-making, taking forward the learning which has emerged to focus our approach. There will also be a greater focus on:

  • Families’ and communities’ involvement in decision-making in the context of the Scottish Attainment Challenge;
  • What is working well and what could be improved in engaging children, young people and their families and communities in decision-making;
  • What difference did children and young people’s, families’ and communities’ involvement in decision-making make.

Whilst we continue to explore the focus going forward for the thematic strand of the evaluation with the ASF Evaluation Advisory Panel, it is proposed that as well as the continued focus on readiness to learn and engagement in decision-making/voice, we develop a new focus on learning and teaching outcomes from the Logic Model.



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