Scottish Attainment Challenge: framework for recovery and accelerating progress

A Framework to support schools, local authorities and others across the education system to support educational recovery and increase progress in improving outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty.

Annex C – Summary for Schools


  • The mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge: to use education to improve outcomes for children and young people impacted by poverty, with a focus on tackling the poverty-related attainment gap.
  • Support education recovery, increase pace of progress and reduce variation in progress.

General principles

  • Resources for the Scottish Attainment Challenge, through the Attainment Scotland Fund, will be provided to schools through Pupil Equity Funding (PEF).
  • Educators will play a vital role in breaking the cycle of poverty and making a long-term contribution to Scotland's national mission to tackle child poverty through the collaboration between schools, local authorities and other partners.
  • Funding must provide targeted support for children and young people (and their families if appropriate) affected by poverty to help support them achieve their full potential.


  • Headteachers will continue to have access to their school's full PEF allocation and should work in partnership with each other, their school community, children and young people and their families, and their local authority, to agree the use of the funding.
  • Use existing mechanisms, include plans for PEF in annual School Improvement Plans, include clear, measurable aims for progress in tackling the poverty-related attainment gap.

Monitoring and Reporting

  • Report on the impact of PEF annually in school Standards and Quality Reports.
  • Use existing reporting mechanisms to Parent Council and Forum.
  • There is provision for PEF allocations to be carried forward into the subsequent financial year. 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). Other than in exceptional circumstances, it should be invested in full within the same academic year.
  • Where underspends accumulate, schools should expect scrutiny from their local authority, Scottish Government and Education Scotland; and be prepared to discuss approaches to effectively utilising the funding to ensure it supports pupils most impacted by poverty.
  • Ongoing local monitoring of progress and engagement with children and young people, families required, with support and challenge from local authority, peers and Education Scotland, and appropriate adjustments made locally to ensure progress in tackling the poverty-related attainment gap.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Reflect existing statutory duties and those in the 2018 Joint Agreement.
  • Expectation of collaboration, transparency, support and challenge in a mature system focused on the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.
  • Use PEF to provide additionality to enhance, scale or introduce new approaches to tackling the poverty-related attainment gap within the school or in partnership with local services.



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