Closing the poverty-related attainment gap: progress report 2016 to 2021 - summary report

Closing the poverty-related attainment gap – a report on progress 2016-2021 assesses the progress that has been made through the Scottish Attainment Challenge towards closing the attainment gap. This summary report provides an overview of what that evidence tells us about the progress made.

5. Impact of COVID-19 on outcomes for learners

It is undisputed that the impact of COVID-19, and the period of school building closures, is likely to have made education inequality worse and more complex to tackle. These are impacts that are being experienced simultaneously in countries across the world. As highlighted by the International Council of Education Advisers (ICEA), (2020), "The pandemic reinforces the issue of equity as the defining agenda of our time."

Cognisant of this, our Equity Audit (published in January 2021) helps to deepen our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on children from disadvantaged backgrounds, to outline the actions already taken to meet this challenge, and to set clear areas of focus for accelerating recovery.

The findings of this audit reiterate the importance of an ongoing, long-term and system-wide focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. They also highlight the scale and potential depth of the impacts of the pandemic, and recognise that the full extent of those may not become fully visible for some time.

This disruption to the system and to the lives of Scotland's children and young people reinforces the continued need to focus on equity and excellence, with the Equity Audit highlighting the need for a continued focus on health and wellbeing.



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