No concrete evidence of progress on attainment gap four years after fund launched

Four years after the launch of the Scottish Attainment Challenge it is difficult to tell what impact the Attainment Scotland Fund has had on closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

The Scottish Government have celebrated the “perceptions” of impact and success from headteachers, however the report evaluating the Fund’s impact, released this week, makes clear that quantitative measures linked to the National Improvement Framework tell a different story.

The report states: “Overall, quantitative measures of the attainment gap do not yet show a consistent pattern of improvement.”

Scottish Labour has today accused the Scottish Government of hiding from scrutiny and has called on it to reinstate measures, such as the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy, that would allow the public to properly assess the SNP’s record on education.

Scottish Labour education spokesperson Iain Gray MSP said: 

“The First Minister once said that education was the top priority of her government, and John Swinney has repeatedly stated his intention to close the attainment gap.

“The reality however is that the Scottish Government has systematically removed the measures that would allow proper scrutiny of its record on education, such as the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy.

“As a result we are four years into the ‘attainment challenge’ and many millions of pounds have been spent, yet the government are forced to celebrate the results of a survey because they lack any robust evidence to show that their interventions to close the attainment gap are actually  working.

“It is time for the Scottish Government to get serious about addressing the attainment gap and measuring it with robust evidence.”