4. Roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
The roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of the range of key stakeholders engaged in education/school improvement, including reducing the poverty-related attainment gap, are well established and are articulated in the Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 and the 2018 Joint Agreement.
This Framework seeks to further articulate the responsibilities for monitoring, support and challenge in relation to the Scottish Attainment Challenge in particular, and focuses on local authorities, schools, Regional Improvement Collaboratives, Education Scotland and the Scottish Government.
4.1 Local authorities and their staff
Local authorities are responsible for:
- preparing annual education service plans, which include key actions to contribute to the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the local authority's stretch aims for 2025/26;
- supporting school improvement through providing assistance to schools and partners by:
- supporting schools to identify poverty-related gaps through coaching, professional learning and supporting access to tracking and monitoring and data analysis tools;
- providing professional learning around planning (data, aims/ outcomes and measures), interventions and approaches;
- offering practical support to schools, where required, in terms of financial management and HR;
- supporting and challenging schools in their use of PEF to make progress in improving the health and wellbeing and educational outcomes of children and young people impacted by poverty; and
- ensuring that supports are inclusive and accessible for all children affected by poverty, including those who are identified with additional support needs.
- effectively using data, and the Scottish Attainment Challenge Logic Model, to explore a shared understanding of the local context with Education Scotland, supporting the setting of ambitious local authority stretch aims, monitoring performance and progressing towards achieving these stretch aims;
- ongoing, active monitoring of plans for recovery and to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap and improve health and wellbeing, supporting and challenging key stakeholders and/or partners; and adjusting plans where necessary to ensure progress;
- reviewing progress on their trajectories towards their 2025/26 stretch aims and adjusting their plans accordingly to maximise progress;
- reporting on progress toward their locally identified local authority stretch aims;
- reporting on the effective investment of Attainment Scotland Funding;
- collaborating with a range of services across the local authority and in local communities to secure additional contributions to the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge; and
- engaging in professional dialogue with Education Scotland and Scottish Government to support maximum impact of the resources benefiting children and young people affected by poverty, including through professional dialogue to support local self-evaluation and improvement planning, such as the development of stretch aims.
School leaders are responsible for:
- the improvement of outcomes and attainment, including tackling the poverty-related attainment gap and improved health and wellbeing, in their schools;
- working as part of a collaborative learning community, the local authority and working with others, in order to make decisions that most benefit their children and young people's outcomes;
- ensuring that children and young people participate meaningfully in their own learning, in decision-making relating to the life and work of the school and in the wider community;
- the development and implementation of School Improvement Plans which include approaches to contributing to the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge;
- the effective use of data, and the Scottish Attainment Challenge Logic Model, to explore a shared understanding of local context with local authority colleagues and/or Education Scotland, including to support the development of ambitious plans and monitoring of performance and progress towards achieving the aims within those plans;
- using Pupil Equity Funding to provide additionality to enhance, scale or introduce new approaches to tackling the poverty-related attainment gap within the school, across the learning community or in partnership with local services; and
- reporting on progress towards stated aims and tackling the poverty-related attainment gap in their annual Standards and Quality Report.
Other services within local authorities:
All services within a local authority play a valuable role in the contribution they make to the Scottish Attainment Challenge. It would be beneficial to reflect their contribution to the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge in local plans, for example, in Children's Services plans, Local Child Poverty Action Plans and Reports and Community Learning and Development plans. This will ensure there is alignment of the Scottish Attainment Challenge mission with other relevant local authority plans and there are references to relevant plans in education service improvement plans.
4.2 Regional Improvement Collaboratives
Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs) continue to bring local authorities together to secure excellence and equity in education – including contributing to the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge – by:
- providing educational improvement support to practitioners through dedicated teams of professionals, drawing on local authority and Education Scotland staff and others;
- providing focus across partners through a joint regional plan and work programme, aligned to the NIF and to regional and local priorities; and
- facilitating and creating the conditions for impactful collaborative working between practitioners, schools and system leaders, including professional learning, innovation and the sharing of best practice.
4.3 Education Scotland
The Scottish Attainment Challenge mission is central to all of Education Scotland's work supporting Scottish educators. To support this all teams will review and enhance approaches to professional learning and leadership and provision of professional advice and support in closing the poverty-related attainment gap. They will lead improvement and build capacity, share practice and broker connections with partners. Working collaboratively with local authorities and stakeholders, staff will support the identification of any gaps in service provision and provide support, where required, to address these.
Through senior leaders, Senior Regional Advisors, Attainment Advisors and NIF Officers, Education Scotland will do the following:
- Play a key role in working with local authority senior leaders to develop local stretch aims ensuring these are appropriately ambitious and focused on closing the poverty-related attainment gap and improving outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty.
- Effectively use available data and the Scottish Attainment Challenge Logic Model to explore a shared understanding of the local context, support setting of ambitious local authority stretch aims and monitoring performance and progress towards achieving these stretch aims.
- Engage in professional dialogue with local authority senior leaders to support local self-evaluation and improvement plans, including the stretch aims.
- Support local authorities to deliver a plan which provides universal, targeted and intensive support as required to ensure recovery and progress towards stretch aims.
- As part of the cycle for reporting on the implementation of the SAC, Attainment Advisors produce reports tri-annually. Summary reports are then produced to provide an overview of the analysis of progress across all 32 local authorities. Each tri-annual report will focus on a specific theme.
- Provide professional advice and support to local authority senior leaders. This will have a focus on supporting collaboration and sharing practice within and between local authorities to maximise impact of the resources to support children and young people affected by poverty.
- Work with Scottish Government to sample PEF plans.
Attainment Advisors will have additional roles in supporting education leaders and practitioners with the above through their 3 key functions, all of which are informed by evidence gathered through local, regional and national data (fig 2).
They will work collaboratively with local authority staff in their varying roles to co-create and deliver a programme of support and challenge to be delivered across the local authority. This universal, targeted or intensive support aims to support recovery and accelerate progress in tackling the poverty-related attainment gap and improving outcomes for children and young people affected by poverty. It will include monitoring, evaluating and providing feedback on progress towards achieving the agreed aims, the impact of the Attainment Scotland Fund at local level and Scottish Attainment Challenge self-evaluation and reporting. This will include both local authority stretch aims and schools' aims/outcomes, including special schools. Attainment Advisors have a role and responsibility to support and challenge the effective planning, implementation and evaluation of the impact of all aspects of the ASF, including SEF, PEF and CECYP funding and local authorities should provide appropriate access for this to take place.
Education Scotland will evaluate the impact of their work against the outcomes and measures set out in the organisation's corporate plan and draw on stakeholder feedback to support this; and through the Attainment Scotland Fund evaluation by Scottish Government.
4.4 Scottish Government
The Scottish Government is responsible for delivering the policy agenda of Ministers and supporting key partners to contribute to that. In the context of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, this includes:
- responsibility for the improvement in the quality of school education provided for Scotland;
- in doing the above, exercising powers to reduce inequalities of outcome for pupils impacted by socio-economic disadvantage;
- accountability to Parliament;
- setting policy framework for the Scottish Attainment Challenge, based on extensive stakeholder consultation and agreement of Ministers;
- distributing funding to local authorities and (indirectly) to schools via the Attainment Scotland Fund to support local implementation of the Scottish Attainment Challenge;
- monitoring the investment of Attainment Scotland Fund and national progress towards achieving the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge;
- engaging in annual dialogue, alongside Education Scotland, on locally identified stretch aims and the associated Attainment Scotland Fund allocations used to contribute to plans to achieve those aims;
- engaging in annual dialogue, alongside Education Scotland, on local progress towards identified stretch aims;
- supporting and challenging, with and through Education Scotland, limited progress and variation in outcomes;
- gathering and publication of attainment and other related data; and
- collaborating across government and other partners to ensure a coherent and impactful policy landscape to support progress in both the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the national mission to tackle child poverty.
4.5 His Majesty's Inspectorate of Education
His Majesty's Inspectorate of Education has a key role in giving assurance about the quality of education children and young people experience. HM Inspectors also have a unique role in providing evidence to inform policy and practice because the advice is independent and based on first-hand, observed evidence of the impact of policy implementation on the learner. HM Inspectors will inspect the effectiveness of the arrangements to accelerate progress on improving outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty are being improved. They will gather and share evidence of what is working well and where further development is needed. Evidence from inspection activity will also be used to help leaders and practitioners to build their own capacity to improve.
4.6 Other services and partners
A range of other services, partners and stakeholders beyond local and national government and its agencies have vital contributions to make to achieve the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge. Amongst these are:
- children, young people and their families, who (as noted above and is clear in the associated guidance for the Scottish Attainment Challenge funding streams) have a key role in influencing the approaches undertaken locally and also in sharing their views on the success/impact of any given approach. As is clear in the UNCRC, "every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously" (Article 12, UNCRC);
- the third sector, with its wide range of national and community- based organisations whose skills and expertise are vital supports that local authorities and schools should seek to draw on to support and enhance their work to achieve the Scottish Attainment Challenge mission; and
- academic institutions have a vital role to play in terms of the support that they can provide to local authorities and schools, the training of new teachers and leaders, and research on equitable approaches to education in Scotland and internationally.
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