Pupil Equity Funding allocations have been confirmed until March 2026. Opportunities to implement longer term interventions over this period can be realised with the support of confirmed annual allocations. Consideration should also still be given to shorter term interventions which support the mission to use education to improve outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty, with a focus on tackling the poverty-related attainment gap.
Utilising a longer-term approach by planning the use of Pupil Equity Funding over multiple years may allow for more effective planning of spending, recruitment and development.
Planning can be supported by the logic model, which can be found as a supporting document to the Framework for Recovery and Accelerating Progress, which shows how a programme produces change. The SAC logic model can help bring detail to programme goals, aid planning, evaluation, implementation and communication. It incorporates outcomes reflecting the mission, which encompasses child poverty, broader achievement and an increased focus on health and wellbeing and family and community support.
As set out in the Framework for Recovery and Accelerating Progress, there should be alignment between aims set by schools to improve the outcomes for children and young people affected by poverty and the stretch aims of the local authority. Local authority will provide guidance on how approaches to the use of Pupil Equity Funding at school level can contribute to local aims. School plans should inform the local authority stretch aims and local authority aims should be reflected in school plans as part of a two-way collaborative process.
Headteachers will need to be familiar with local policies and procedures – such as the Local Code of Corporate Governance, Local Schemes of Delegation, the Role of the Section 95 officer, the local Devolved School Management policy and local school planning cycle. Local authorities can advise on these policies.
An 'Interventions for Equity' resource has been developed to support the planning and implementation of interventions and approaches to meet the needs of children and young people affected by poverty in order to close the attainment gap. The examples cited act as a stimulus for wider reflection of what might suit your local context and are by no means the only interventions that should be considered.
General principles for planning for Pupil Equity Funding within the Scottish Attainment Challenge
Actively engage children, young people, families, communities, staff and partners in planning process.
Plans are based on data and a clear understanding of the context of communities they will be implemented.
This data should include: local & national data and reference to research including SAC Theory of Change and Logic Model.
Setting ambitious and SMART aims:
Aims should be smart, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. They also need to be ambitious enough to achieve long term goals of closing povertyrelated attainment gaps.
SMART measures and baseline data are needed to be able to show progress towards aims. Regular tracking and monitoring will support staff respond timeously to interventions which are not having the desired impact and make adaptations.
All plans should have aims and measures which allow leaders to clearly state whether aims have been achieved.
Quality assurance processes embedded
to support the development and implementation of SAC plans. This can be both internal or external, involve peers or senior leaders.
Where schools are unable to spend their full allocation during the financial year, any unspent funds can be carried forward to the new financial year. The expectation is that, other than in exceptional circumstances, it should be spent within that same academic year. PEF Allocations have been confirmed over four years until March 2026, which should enable headteachers to begin to plan for how they will invest the funding over the short and longer term. There are opportunities to implement longer term interventions over this period supported by the long-term confirmation of annual allocations. However, consideration should also still be given to shorter term interventions which support the mission to improve outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty, with a focus on tackling the poverty related attainment gap.
Schools should liaise closely with their authority to agree arrangements for carrying forward the funding into the new financial year (and, in exceptional circumstances, into the new academic year). Pupil Equity Funding should be considered separately from other funding within the devolved school management budget.
Headteachers should utilise the Framework for Recovery and Accelerating Progress to help shape School Improvement Plans to achieve a robust and effective plan for Pupil Equity Funding which will not result in any predicted underspend of funds. They should work in close collaboration with Attainment Advisors to ensure effective planning thereby identifying appropriate opportunities for improvement and to close the poverty-related attainment gap.
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