Pupil Equity Fund: national operational guidance 2022

Guidance to help schools plan how they will most effectively spend their Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) allocation.

Use of Pupil Equity Funding

How can it be used?

Although the funding is allocated to schools on the basis of free school meal registrations of pupils in P1-S3, headteachers and teachers have discretion to make decisions about which children and young people would benefit most from any particular intervention or approach, whilst keeping a clear focus on delivering equity through improving outcomes for learners impacted by poverty.

Funding should not be used in ways that stigmatises children and young people or their parents and carers. Interventions that support transitions between school stages – for example between nursery and primary or between broad general education and senior phase – can also be considered.

The funding should be focused on resources, activities and approaches focussed on learners impacted by poverty, which will lead to improvements in literacy, numeracy and support health and wellbeing. Leadership; learning & teaching; and families and communities continue to be recognised as useful organisers to consider when determining interventions and approaches.

Headteachers can work at an individual school and local community level, which includes children and young people and their families, or collegiately in wider school clusters and beyond at local authority and regional improvement collaborative level to address common interests.

Consideration should be given to how the school can work with community partners beyond education to deliver proposed and collaboratively agreed aims and outcomes. Interventions and approaches should be considered within the context of the school improvement planning cycle and must be targeted towards closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Where appropriate, funding should articulate with existing Scottish Attainment Challenge improvement plans, utilising the Framework for Recovery and Accelerating Progress.

Headteachers may also want to consider the mitigations and recommendations noted in the Equity Audit and Closing the poverty related attainment gap: A report on progress 2016-2021 which were published in 2021.

The three organisers of learning and teaching; leadership; and, families and communities should shape local approaches.

Headteachers should use their discretion when deciding which pupils will benefit from Pupil Equity Funding, as well as engaging with teachers, when deciding which approaches would have the most impact for children and young people impacted by poverty. The following five key indicators may be helpful and should be taken into consideration.

  • Attainment
  • Attendance
  • Inclusion
  • Engagement
  • Participation


Email: scottishattainmentchallenge@gov.scot

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