Strategic Equity Fund: national operational guidance 2022

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


There is a package of national and local support available to assist local authorities in planning how to use their Strategic Equity Funding.

Scottish Attainment Challenge – Self-evaluation resource designed to assist schools and others bring about further improvement at this time of recovery.

An Intervention for Equity framework of evidenced and proven educational interventions and strategies to help tackle the poverty-related attainment gap. The framework can be used by all stakeholders and should help to inform the decisions local authorities and schools make. The structure and content is designed to be dynamic and continues to evolve as an integral part of the National Improvement Hub, where a wide range of improvement, self-evaluation and research materials are available and where practice exemplars can be shared. Other research summaries and intervention examples will continue to be incorporated as these become available.

An Education Scotland Equity Toolkit is currently being developed and is expected to be available from the summer of 2022.

ILA Framework to evaluate how well local authorities are improving learning, raising attainment and closing the poverty related attainment gap.

A reflective tool for educators, Getting It Right For All Learners during COVID-19.

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Toolkit provides an accessible summary of educational research designed to inform discussions on the most effective approaches to improving attainment, with a focus on 5-16 year olds and poverty disadvantage. It contains 35 teaching approaches and interventions, each summarised in terms of their average impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting them and their cost. It is useful for education leaders and practitioners to inform decision making on the use of Strategic Equity Funding, raising attainment and improving equity. Many of the strands now include challenge questions to help support professional discussions. The toolkit is intended to be used in conjunction with the range of interventions and approaches provided through the framework above to encourage and enhance professional dialogue taking full account of the local context.

Guidance on working with the third sector is available to help support local authorities make the best use of funding with other partners. This resource sets out how schools can create purposeful partnerships with appropriate third sector organisations to improve outcomes for children, young people and families. The third sector is particularly well placed to support improvements to health and wellbeing and to improve employability skills and school leaver destinations.

Alongside schools and education services, youth work improves the wellbeing, readiness to learn and educational outcomes of children and young people. YouthLink Scotland has a range of collaboration support and resources available as part of their national Scottish Attainment Challenge programme. This includes information for schools, evidence and examples of impact and learning from the Youth Work Education Recovery Fund. They can also provide support to identify and work with youth work partners.

Attainment Advisors will provide advice on a local and regional basis. Attainment Advisors can be integral to facilitating good communication helping to share best practice and provide guidance on effective planning, implementation and evaluation of interventions in schools, local authorities and Regional Improvement Collaboratives.

Examples of this include Attainment Advisors (and regional teams):

  • working with local authorities, headteachers, senior leaders and practitioners to support effective planning for and development of collaborative approaches to the use of Strategic Equity Funding and the totality of Attainment Scotland Funding in local authority areas;
  • playing 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;
  • providing advice and support to local authorities, headteachers and senior leaders on planning and reporting on initiatives and the use of impact evaluation data and evidence to identify successful approaches and areas for improvement;
  • working on an ongoing basis with local authorities and schools to develop and embed approaches monitoring the impact of local approaches to tackling the poverty-related attainment gap;
  • engaging in professional dialogue with local authority senior leaders to support local self-evaluation and improvement plans, including the stretch aims; and
  • highlighting opportunities for collaboration and the use of communication tools on Glow including the Scottish Attainment Challenge community, Teams, Yammer, Sharepoint, and Blogs.

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.

  • Provide advice and guidance
  • Lead improvement and build quality
  • Contribute to robust evaluation of impact

Scottish Government, March 2022



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