Coronavirus (COVID-19) education recovery: key actions and next steps

Outlines our ongoing response to the impacts of the pandemic on education in Scotland, and sets out some key next steps we will take to address them.

10. Monitoring And Reporting Outcomes

It is clear that a significant amount of action and activity lies ahead. We will continue to progress the implementation of these policies with the urgency that is required to support positive outcomes for children and young people, and to protect against any lasting impacts from the pandemic.

In doing so, we will continue to work with our partners from across the system, and to engage widely with all stakeholders. As well as ongoing dialogue with CERG, the refreshed Scottish Education Council and the new Children and Young People's Education Council will form key pillars in our engagement.

Audit Scotland recommended that we "work with stakeholders to develop and publish consistent and robust national data that reflects the ambitions of the national curriculum, national policy priorities such as health and wellbeing and confidence, and key priorities for Covid-19 recovery and improvement" and we are committed to doing this.

We also intend to maintain transparency and openness regarding the progress that is being made, and to identify at the earliest stage where any additional work or change of course is required. HM Inspectors of Education will undertake national thematic reviews to support improvement and identify what is working well and highly effective practice. They will also highlight areas where further improvement is required. The publication of the 2022 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan will form a central part of that communication, and we will continue to update Parliament on progress in the meantime.

Essential to such transparency will be the monitoring and reporting of outcomes themselves. The Scottish Government has well-established monitoring and evaluation programmes designed to assess existing policies to improve attainment and wellbeing; intrinsically linked to the aims set out in this document.

The National Improvement Framework Interactive Evidence Report provides an overview of what we know about Scottish education and the context in which our children and young people learn. It brings together available current evidence on achievement, attainment, health and wellbeing, and the wider education system, with a specific focus on differences between children living in the most deprived and least deprived areas. It aims to present an objective picture of Scottish education, based on a wide range of sources. Such evidence is crucial to be able to learn from good practice and develop plans for improvement where needed. Whilst the pandemic and interruption to business as usual has caused some gaps in available evidence, additional data sources have been identified to provide further evidence on the impact of the pandemic on children young people, parents and carers and the teaching workforce. These will be reported on in the NIF 2022 in December 2021.

The Scottish Attainment Challenge is supported by an annual evaluation programme of the underlying Attainment Scotland Fund (ASF). The ASF evaluation assesses progress towards the long-term outcomes of SAC including raising attainment for all and closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children and young people. The annual ASF evaluation programme has been adapted – and is continuing to adapt – to include assessment of progress made during the time of school building closures due to the pandemic. The evaluation is being expanded to assess if and how approaches were modified to support pupils during periods of school building closures, how the pandemic affected collaborations across the education system (positively or negatively) and what positive/negative unintended consequences arose during the period of remote learning.

Our schedule of forthcoming data and evidence that will help us to check we remain on track includes:

  • Attendance, Absence and Exclusion statistics, December 2021
  • Achievement of CfE Levels data (Primary), December 2021
  • Summary Statistics for School in Scotland (teacher and pupil numbers), December 2021
  • School Leaver Attainment and Initial Destinations statistics, February 2022
  • Follow up leaver destination statistics, June 2022
  • Educational Outcomes for Looked After Children, June 2022
  • Health and Wellbeing Census results, late 2022
  • Regular updates to the NIFIER (approx. quarterly from December 2021)



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