3. Views on the Fund
3.1. This section sets out findings in relation to headteachers' understanding of the purpose of the Attainment Scotland Fund, and the extent to which headteachers agree with the Fund's stated purpose.
3.2. A great majority of headteachers feel they are clear on the purpose of the Fund; 93% are very or somewhat clear. This is somewhat lower than that reported in previous surveys, and appears to reflect a less positive response from the PEF-only schools included in the survey for the first time; 91% are clear on the purpose of the Fund compared to 97% of Challenge Authority and Schools Programme respondents.
Clarity on purpose of Attainment Scotland Fund
3.3. The survey also asked headteachers to describe the aims of ASF in their own words. Around half of respondents provided an answer here - common themes across these responses are summarised below.
|Reference to 'closing the gap'||83%|
|Reference to poverty and deprivation||67%|
|Reference to targeting of pupils/parents/schools||27%|
|Specific reference to targeting deprivation||24%|
|Reference to literacy||14%|
|Reference to numeracy||14%|
|Reference to health and wellbeing||13%|
|Reference to raising quality and standards||4%|
3.4. A great majority agree with the aims of the Fund (94%). As is noted above in relation to clarity on the aims of the Fund, this is a somewhat less positive result than previous surveys (99% in 2017). These views are consistent across funding streams and other key respondent groups, although it is notable that those who are clear on the aims of the Fund are more likely than others to agree with these aims.
Agreement with aim of Attainment Scotland Fund
3.5. A small number of respondents (2% of all survey respondents) who do not agree with the aims of the Fund provided further detail on the reasons for this. These respondents indicated that, while they agreed with the principle of ASF, they disagreed with aspects of how the aims of the Fund are framed and how funding is allocated. This included concern that: the Fund is based on a narrow definition of poverty; that the focus on numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing is too narrow; that the focus should be at pre-school stages; that basing allocation on take-up of (rather than entitlement to) free school meals disadvantages schools where local factors contribute to low take-up rates; and that individual funding to schools can only have limited impact in the context of broader reductions in education funding.
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