1. Introduction and Background
1.1. This report gives an overview of the strategy for the evaluation of the Attainment Scotland Fund already set out in the recently published evaluation report. The focus of this report is on the evaluation activities that will take place between now and Year 4 of the fund. It also describes how the evaluation of Pupil Equity Funding sits within the wider evaluation.
Scottish Attainment Challenge
1.2. The SAC programme is underpinned by the National Improvement Framework, Curriculum for Excellence and Getting it Right for Every Child. It supports three of the four National Improvement priorities, which are:
- Improvement in attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy
- Closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged children;
- Improvement in children and young people's health and wellbeing
1.3. The £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund is a targeted initiative available for the lifetime of the current Parliament and focusses on supporting local authorities and schools to:
- Increase pupils' attainment (particularly in literacy and numeracy) and improve health and wellbeing
- Reduce the difference in attainment and health and wellbeing between pupils from the most and least deprived areas
1.4. Initially, the Attainment Scotland Fund, available from 2015, aimed to provide targeted support for children and young people in greatest need through the Challenge Authorities and Schools programme, along with a number of national interventions.
1.5. Pupil Equity Funding ( PEF) is part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge ( SAC) and was launched in Year 3 (2017-18) to prioritise improvements in literacy, numeracy and health and well-being of children adversely affected by poverty.
Challenge Authority and Schools Programme
1.6. In Years 3 and 4, the Challenge Authority and Schools Programme includes nine Challenge Authorities and 74 schools receiving Attainment Scotland Funding.
1.7. Challenge Authorities are allocated funding yearly and are responsible for implementing and tracking progress towards raising attainment and closing the poverty related attainment gap. In the schools programme, schools receive the funding directly and were selected on the basis of having over 70% of their pupils living in the most 20% deprived ( SIMD deciles 1 and 2) areas of Scotland.
Pupil Equity Funding
1.8. Pupil Equity Funding ( PEF) is additional funding made available to schools, forming part of the £750m Attainment Scotland Fund being invested to help mitigate poverty related disadvantage across Scotland.
1.9. Pupil Equity Funding is allocated on the basis of the number of children in primary school and S1-3 of secondary school known to be eligible for free school meals. The scheme is open to all publicly funded primary, secondary and special schools. For each pupil in Primary 1 to S3 registered for free school meals, schools received £1,200 in 2017-18.
1.10. The first year of Pupil Equity Funding (2017/18) allocated a total of £120 million and reached 95% of schools across Scotland.
1.11. National Operational Guidance and the Interventions for Equity framework exists to support schools plan how they will use the funding to improve the educational outcomes of children affected by poverty,
1.12. A key aspect of PEF is that it is provided directly to schools. The guidance states that headteachers should have access to the full amount of the allocated funding.
1.13. This report sets out the current agreed approach to the evaluation of Attainment Scotland Fund. It describes the research methods that will be used between now and 2020 to address the evaluation aims.
1.14. It is important to note that at this stage, it is possible that the research methods may need to be amended to adapt to any changes in the implementation of the fund.
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