Annex B – Local Authority Stretch Aims and Reporting Exemplars
Senior leaders across education are familiar with developing aims, outcomes and measures at the start of their planning process. They are equally familiar with evaluating and reporting on the impact of plans through Standards and Quality reports.
This annex draws together practice from local authorities to highlight examples of stretch aims and reporting expected for the Scottish Attainment Challenge Strategic Equity Funding.
Data local authorities used to develop their ambitious, achievable aims:
Local authorities completed robust contextual analysis which allowed them to set ambitious but achievable stretch aims. This included looking at and analysing:
- ACEL and Senior phase data for children and young people affected by poverty. This data included SIMD as well as other data sources such as free school meals, clothing and footwear grants and/ or local data sets. Some also considered the intersectionality of data with factors like ASN, gender, etc.
- Looking at data longitudinally. Data was considered over at least a 3-year period to determine any pattern of progress. Some considered average progress achieved over several years as part of this.
- Data being considered and benchmarked against national measures.
- Impact of COVID-19 on children and young people affected by poverty in their area and the impact on their attainment.
- The impact of interventions previously implemented on outcomes for children and young people.
- The views of stakeholders, especially children and young people.
Reporting is relatively simple when plans have set initial aims and measures which are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed) and progress is monitored, collating evidence of impact throughout the year. All of this information is then used to report on impact.
Detail required within local authority stretch aims:
Consistency in the articulation of the essential stretch aims is vital. Exemplars therefore include a table that sets out how these aims could be articulated in local authority plans. The composition of the plans, the substance to reach stretch aims and the underlying indicators of progress will still be entirely in the gift of local authorities to develop in line with local processes and approaches. However local authority plans must provide information on:
Annual stretch aims for:
1. Overall attainment for all.
2. SIMD Q1 and Q5.
3. Tackling the poverty related attainment gap.
At a minimum these should include (core) stretch aims for:
a. ACEL levels – P1, 4, 7 literacy combined and numeracy combined;
b. Proportion of school leavers attaining 1 or more passes at SCQF level 5 based on 'Summary statistics for attainment and initial leaver destinations' publication;
c. Proportion of school leavers attaining 1 or more passes at SCQF level 6 based on 'Summary statistics for attainment and initial leaver destinations' publication;
d. Participation measure: proportion of 16-19 years olds participating in education, employment or training based on Annual Participation Measure produced by Skills Development Scotland; and
e. Health and wellbeing, using a local measure/suite of measures, including, for example, attendance.
The importance of wider achievements and other aims, including HWB is recognised. Therefore local authorities can also detail additional stretch aims which are more specific to local authorities own context and datasets. These can include: attendance, HWB, wider achievement aims, reducing cost of the school day, etc.
- Recognising the importance of wider achievements and a range of other factors that underpin positive outcomes for children and young people, stretch aims should also be detailed for a range of further local priorities, using local measures.
The template below details all the information required for the "core" aims. It is important that to ensure consistency and enable a national understanding of local ambitions, local authorities articulate their "core" stretch aims using the four NIF measures set out above using this format. This can be embedded in existing local plans however it might work best for local authorities.
|NIF Measure or wider LA measure?|
|Overall levels||SIMD Quintile 1||SIMD Quintile 5|| Gap
(Q1 – Q5)
| Stretch aim to be
There are a small number of local authorities where SIMD Q1 and Q5 data is not available or suitable to be used in this format. If this is the case, this should be discussed further and an alternative format agreed with Education Scotland and Scottish Government as part of the ongoing professional dialogue. Any alternative format should be designed to represent how the local authority is improving outcomes for their most disadvantaged learners. For example, this could consider alternative SIMD quintile comparisons or FSM data.
As noted in section 2.2.2 in the body of the Framework, it is also recognised that the "core" measures are likely to evolve in time as NIF measures are consulted upon and wider measures of the curriculum are introduced following recent OECD recommendations (2021).
Providing this information will enable annual national data aggregation. It will support monitoring and tracking of progress towards achieving the programme's mission of improving outcomes for children and young people affected by poverty, with a focus on tackling the poverty related attainment gap.
Exemplar 1: ACEL and improving outcomes for learners affected by poverty
Information within local authority Education Plan:
Overall levels for children achieving expected levels in numeracy in local authority A are slightly above national averages. However the percentage of children in SIMD Q1 achieving expected levels in numeracy is below their peers in Scotland. Therefore we will be prioritising action in this area over the next 4 years. Self-evaluation indicates further work on pedagogy of numeracy and adult confidence (staff and parent/carer) in numeracy is required.
|ACEL P1, 4, 7 Numeracy Combined|
|Overall levels||SIMD Quintile 1||SIMD Quintile 5|| Gap
(Q1 – Q5)
|Current level (2020/ 21)||76%||60%||86%||26%|
| Stretch aim to be
Reporting (through local authority Standards and Quality Report)
Support was provided across local authority A for Numeracy Champions and Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs) in almost all primary schools in CPA (Concrete Pictorial Abstract) approaches. There was also a pilot study in 5 primary schools looking at different ways to engage families using these approaches.
Data collected through ACEL tracking in December and March indicated that most schools were on track to achieving the aims they had set for numeracy in P1, P4 and P7 combined. Additional support was provided to schools if required. The focus of this support was around the fidelity of targeted interventions through additional support for PSAs and sharing practice across schools regarding pedagogy. It also highlighted further work required on staff confidence in P3-5 across the local authority.
By June 2023, 67% of children from Q1 achieved expected levels of numeracy in P1, 4, 7 combined. Therefore this stretch aim was achieved. Children in Q5 also improved expected levels from 86 to 89%. This resulted in the gap decreasing by 4% rather than the 5% expected. Nevertheless stretch aims set for expected levels in numeracy for P1, 4, 7 combined were achieved for children from both quintile 1 and quintile 5, with children from quintile 1 improving at a faster rate than their less disadvantaged peers. Overall children in local authority A continue to achieve above national averages for expected levels in numeracy across primary schools. The annual stretch aim was exceeded and 81% of children overall achieved expected levels of numeracy in 2023.
Exemplar 2: Health and wellbeing
Information within local authority Education Plan
Although attendance rates for children who are looked after has improved over the past 5 years, local authority B data indicates that attendance for children and young people who are looked after is lower than that of peers. This is true for both primary and secondary school learners.
|Attendance rates for children and young people who are looked after|
|Overall levels (PS)||Overall levels (Sec)||CYP who are looked after (PS)||CYP who are looked after (Sec)|
|Current level (2020/ 21):||95%||92%||90%||79%|
| Stretch aim to be
Local authority learning reviews, the local Champions Board, The Promise and the ASL Review all stress the importance of having the voice of the young person at the centre of decision making. At present, our survey of children and young people who are looked after indicates that only half of children who are looked after feel their voices are heard and represented at their reviews in school and at looked after reviews. Our stretch aim for this will be that by July 2023, 75% of children and young people will advise their voices are heard and acted upon. This evidence gathering will be further supported through a random sampling activity by Educational Psychology Services. They will review 20% of children's plans completed from August 2022-July 2023 to evaluate the sections detailing the child or young person's view. This is currently not as consistent as it should be. Therefore our stretch aim is that all multi-agency children's plans reviewed will have the children and young people's views fully completed, detailing their views on their current situation and learning.
Reporting through the local authority Standards and Quality report
The stretch aims for children attending primary school who are looked after was met in local authority B, with attendance rising to 94.2%. Although the stretch aim for secondary schools was not met this year, it did improve to 82%. Additional evidence indicated that interventions did effectively impact on the numbers of young people who are looked after and who have long term absence at secondary schools. The attendance improved with only 8 learners attending education for less than 50% of openings. This is an improvement from 16 learners the previous year.
80% of children and young people who are looked after and who completed the local authority survey indicated they felt their voices were heard and acted upon. This was supported through the sampling activity by Educational Psychology Services of the multi-agency children's plans. All children's plans reviewed had completed the sections detailing children and young people's views on their current situation and learning. Further analysis of why 20% of children did not feel their voices were heard will be carried out to inform aims and interventions for next year.
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