Strategic Equity Fund: national operational guidance 2022

Guidance to support local authorities plan how they will most effectively spend their Strategic Equity funding.

Key Principles

  • This guidance should be considered alongside the Scottish Attainment Challenge Framework for Recovery and Accelerating Progress.
  • Strategic Equity Funding must be used to deliver targeted activities, approaches or resources which are clearly additional to universal local improvement plans.
  • Headteachers, teachers, parents and carers, children and young people and other key stakeholders should be meaningfully involved throughout the processes of planning, implementing and evaluating approaches.
  • Strategic Equity Funding must provide targeted support for children and young people (and their families if appropriate) affected by poverty to achieve their full potential, focusing on targeted improvement activity in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.
  • The operation of the Strategic Equity Funding should be included within existing planning procedures, such as local authority Education Service Improvement Plans, which should be easily accessed by stakeholders. This must provide clarity to stakeholders on how Strategic Equity Funding is being used and its expected impact.
  • Local authorities must develop a clear rationale for use of the funding, based on a robust contextual analysis, including relevant data which identifies the poverty-related attainment gap in their schools and learning communities, and plans must be grounded in evidence of what is known to be effective at raising attainment for children and young people impacted by poverty.
  • Local plans must include ambitious and achievable stretch aims for progress in improving outcomes for all while closing the poverty-related attainment gap. as set out in the Framework for Recovery and Accelerating Progress.
  • Plans should consider the totality of Scottish Attainment Challenge funding – working collaboratively with headteachers, senior leaders and stakeholders to inform planning – coming into the local authority and how this is best utilised to enhance local plans to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap and contribute to the mission of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.
  • The contributions of wider services supporting children and young people and their families are vital to supporting pupils' readiness to learn. Collaboration across services is crucial in tackling the poverty-related attainment gap.
  • Plans should read across to related local authority service improvement plans, such as Community Learning and Development, social work, housing etc., which may also contribute to efforts to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap. They should also have clear links to the local authority tackling child poverty and children's service plans.
  • Progress against plans should be monitored on an ongoing basis. If plans are not achieving the results intended, these plans should be amended locally. Plans for sustainability must be considered as part of this.
  • Progress should be reported annually through local authority Standards and Quality Reports (or equivalents).



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