Equality Impact Assessment Results - The Scottish Attainment Challenge
Title of Policy
The Scottish Attainment Challenge
Summary of aims and desired outcomes of Policy
The Scottish Attainment Challenge aims to help achieve equity in educational outcomes with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap
Directorate: Division: Team
Directorate for Learning: Strategy and Performance Division: The Scottish Attainment Challenge Policy Unit
The aim of the Scottish Attainment Challenge is to help achieve equity in educational outcomes with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap.
A full Equality Impact Assessment ( EQIA) was undertaken to consider the impact of the Scottish Attainment Challenge (the Attainment Challenge) on children and young people with protected characteristics.
The process identified that some equality groups, for example some ethnic minority groups and those with disabilities, are over represented in the lower Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD) quintiles. Evidence also shows that children and young people living in areas of deprivation perform less well than the general school population. Therefore, some children and young people have more significant barriers to learning because they are affected by deprivation and may also face additional barriers as a result of protected characteristics.
The EQIA process did not identify indirect or direct discrimination through the policy intention, design or activity being implemented as part of the Attainment Challenge. The Attainment Challenge is intended to be inclusive. Targeting resources, through the Attainment Scotland Fund, to children and young people is expected to have a positive impact on lives of children and young people affected by poverty, including those in the equality groups.
A number of actions are underway to ensure that the Attainment Challenge does not unlawfully discriminate. For example:
- The National Operational Guidance and grant terms and conditions for Pupil Equity Funding makes it clear that schools should promote equity by taking into account equality groups when planning support and interventions.
- Tools and resources on the National Improvement Hub include examples of effective interventions that apply to all children and young people, including those in equality groups.
- An external qualitative evaluation of the Attainment Scotland Fund is being carried out to assess the impact of the Fund on reducing the poverty related attainment gap and provide learning on what is working well. Specifically, it collects stakeholder views as to whether the fund has had a positive or negative impact on inequalities amongst particular groups considering protected characteristics.
- Any equality issues identified through school inspections by Education Scotland will be highlighted to the Attainment Challenge team by HMI and reviewed to ensure that there has been no unintended consequence on the protected characteristics as a result of the Attainment Challenge.
This EQIA analysis will be kept under regular review, with new data and evidence analysed as it becomes available to monitor the on-going impact of the Attainment Challenge on children and young people with protected characteristics.
The Scottish Attainment Challenge was launched in 2015 to help
achieve equity in educational outcomes. Equity can be achieved by
ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed, with a
particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. The
Attainment Challenge focuses and accelerates targeted improvement
activity in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. It also
supports and complements the broader range of initiatives and
programmes to ensure that all of Scotland's children and young
people reach their full potential. The Attainment Challenge is
by the £750m Attainment Scotland Fund, and underpinned by the 2017 National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education, Curriculum for Excellence and
Getting it Right for Every Child.
While the development and implementation of the Attainment
Challenge will be
on-going during the current parliamentary term, it currently comprises of the following elements:
1. Challenge Authorities
2. Schools Programme
3. Pupil Equity Funding (from 2017/18)
4. Universal support:
- Attainment Advisors
- The National Improvement Hub
- Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative ( CYPIC)
A brief description of these elements is set out below.
Attainment Scotland Fund
The Attainment Challenge is supported by the Attainment Scotland Fund which will provide £750 million over the lifetime of this Parliament to make demonstrable progress in closing the poverty related attainment gap. In 2017-18 it will:
- Provide £45 million to fund the areas with the greatest intensity of children living in poverty through the Challenge Authorities and Schools programme.
- Allocate over £5 million to help support a broader range of national programmes, such as teacher recruitment, continuous and lifelong professional learning, and projects such as partnership work with Young Scot , and the Children's University that complement the aim of the challenge to close the poverty related attainment gap and ensure that children reach their full potential.
- Allocate additional Pupil Equity Funding (£120 million in 2017/18) directly to schools to deliver activities and interventions that support children and young people affected by poverty based on the number of children in P1-S3 known to be eligible to receive free school meals.
1. Challenge Authorities
The Challenge Authorities are the local authorities with the greatest concentration of primary-age children living in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland. There are 9 local authorities that participate in the Challenge: Clackmannanshire Council, Dundee City Council, Glasgow City Council, Inverclyde Council, North Ayrshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council, West Dunbartonshire Council, East Ayrshire Council and Renfrewshire Council. These local authorities develop improvement plans with their partners setting out their plans on closing the attainment gap.
2. Schools Programme
The Schools Programme includes primary schools, with 70% or more of their pupils living in the 20% most deprived communities out with the Challenge Authorities. It aims to empower and equip schools to achieve transformational change through targeted, sustainable and evidence-based support and interventions in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing.
In year 2 the Scottish Attainment Challenge was extended to secondary schools. These are schools within the Challenge Authorities, schools with 20% or more of their pupils living in the 20% most deprived communities, and associated with primary schools already established as part of the Schools Programme. Schools and authorities identified to take part in the Secondary Programme submit plans focusing on support and programmes for disadvantaged young people to improve their literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. They are also invited to consider supported study initiatives for older children.
3. Pupil Equity Funding
As children are affected by poverty related disadvantage across Scotland, Pupil Equity Funding is allocated on the basis of the number of children in primary school and S1-3 secondary school known to be eligible for free school meals. £120 million is being allocated in 2017/18 directly to schools to deliver activities and interventions that support children and young people affected by poverty based on the number of children in P1-S3 known to be eligible to receive free school meals. National Operational Guidance to support this use of Pupil Equity Funding has been published by the Scottish Government.
4. Universal Support
Universal support is available to all Local Authorities and schools across Scotland to increase the educational attainment levels of the most disadvantaged young people. Universal support includes:
All Local Authorities have direct access to a named Attainment Advisor who works collaboratively alongside local authority staff on agreed priorities which support the Scottish Attainment Challenge. It is intended to extend the reach and impact of the Attainment Advisors, through regional alignment to promote collaboration and joint delivery across local authorities. The Attainment Advisor team will work directly with schools where they can make the biggest difference to accelerate efforts to close the gap.
The National Improvement Hub
The National Improvement Hub  is a virtual centre of educational expertise that will support the Scottish Attainment Challenge. It will play a key role in moving the knowledge to action around the education system. It incorporates practitioners to support a self-improving education system. It includes specific learning and teaching tools and strategies which are proven to help close the poverty-related attainment gap. It includes a Scottish specific version of the Education Endowment Foundation Teaching and Learning Toolkit that provides an accessible summary of global educational research on the impact of interventions for 5 - 16 year olds. This is intended to support practitioners in Scotland and inform intervention and investment decision making to tackle inequity and to close the poverty related attainment gap.
Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative ( CYPIC)
The Scottish Government has established the Children and Young People Improvement Collaborative ( CYPIC), which joins up to Early Years Collaborative and the Raising Attainment for All Programme to deliver quality improvement throughout a child's journey, The CYPIC is supporting schools, early learning and childcare settings, health services and family support services to use the 3-Step Improvement Framework for Scotland's public services more effective and responsive to the needs of children, young people and families.
The Scope of the EQIA
The scope of this EQIA is to consider the impact of the Attainment Challenge on children and young people with protected characteristics in school education. As the Attainment Challenge targets activity and resources to children and young people affected by poverty, this is a particular focus of the scope. It is acknowledged that the Attainment Challenge has the potential to impact on all children and young people in school education and in particular on those children with protected characteristics who are more likely to be within the targeted work.
In order to determine the impact, a desk based review of evidence was initially undertaken. This took into account a variety of statistical surveys, reports and other publications including:
- Pupil Census, 2016, Scottish Government 
- National Improvement Framework for Scottish Education - 2016 Evidence Report 
- Child Health 27-30 Month Review Statistics Scotland 2015/16, ISD Scotland 
- Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No.7: 2017, Scottish Government 
- Additional analysis of poverty in Scotland 2015/16 
- Prejudice-based bullying in Scottish schools: a research report, Equality and Human Rights Commission, March 2015 
- Scottish Government Equality Outcomes: Gender evidence review, 2013 
- ISD Scotland, Teenage Pregnancy - Year of conception ending 31 December 2014 
- State of the Nation Report: Race and Racism in Scottish Education, 2013 
In addition, an internal Scottish Government workshop and a number of stakeholder discussions with representatives from relevant organisations including the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Enable, BEMIS, Engender, LGBT Youth Scotland, Stonewall Scotland The Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations Scotland, helped to inform this EQIA.
Key findings - evidence
The EQIA process identified that some equality groups, for example some ethnic minority groups and those with disabilities, are over represented in the lower SIMD quintiles and therefore part of the targeted group for this work.
Impact of poverty on attainment
The evidence shows that children and young people living in areas of multiple deprivation perform less well than the general school population. For example, table 1 shows that the percentage of school leavers attaining at SCQF level 4 to 6, by pupil characteristic SIMD, is significantly lower in the most deprived quintile than those in the highest quintile. Further, table 2 shows that the percentage of school leavers in positive follow up destinations in the most deprived SIMD quintile was lower than those in the highest quintile (85% compared to 96.2%).
Table 1 - Percentage of school leavers attaining at SCQF level 4 to 6, by pupil characteristic SIMD, 2014/15 & 2015/16
|1 or more at
level 4 or better
|1 or more at
level 5 or better
|1 or more at
level 6 or better
|1 or more at
level 4 or better
|1 or more at
level 5 or better
|1 or more at
level 6 or better
|0-20% (most deprived)||92.6||74.0||41.2||92.8||74.4||42.7|
|80-100% (least deprived)||98.9||94.9||80.3||98.8||94.7||81.2|
Table 2 - Percentage of school leavers in a positive follow-up destination, by pupil characteristic SIMD 2010/11 to 2015/16
|0-20% (most deprived)||77.6||81.9||83.0||85.0||86.3||85.0|
|80-100% (least deprived)||94.5||95.3||95.9||96.8||96.3||96.2|
Table 3 below also shows that high proportions of children from White Gypsy Traveller, Polish, Caribbean/Black, African and Arab ethnicities live in SIMD quintiles 1 & 2.
|Most deprived||2||3||4||Least deprived|
|White - Scottish||21.2||19.5||19.9||20.8||18.6|
|White - Other||16.9||16.2||20.8||24.4||21.8|
|White - Gypsy/Traveller||28.7||27.4||22.4||16.9||4.7|
|White - Polish||43.8||22.9||17.2||10.2||5.8|
|White - Irish||16.2||13.0||20.2||24.1||26.4|
|Asian - Indian||16.8||19.9||19.1||17.8||26.3|
|Asian - Pakistani||20.4||24.2||18.5||18.8||18.1|
|Asian - Bangladeshi||21.5||27.1||18.1||12.6||20.7|
|Asian - Chinese||30.7||14.0||14.5||16.0||24.8|
|Asian - Other||31.7||22.3||17.5||14.2||14.4|
Source: Pupil Census 2016
Table 4 shows that there is a higher percentage of pupils who are assessed or declared as having a disability in quintiles 1 & 2, than the overall percentage of pupils living in quintiles 1 & 2 (47.5% compared to 42%).
Table 4 - Percentage of pupils who are assessed or declared as having a disability, by SIMD quintiles, 2016 
|Most deprived||2||3||4||Least Deprived|
|Percentage of all pupils by SIMD quintiles||22.4||19.6||18.8||19.4||19.8|
|Total assessed and/or declared as having a disability||26.7||20.8||20.2||17.9||14.4|
|Assessed as having a disability ||27.8||20.2||19.4||17.9||14.7|
|Declared as having a disability but not assessed||22.4||23.0||23.3||17.8||13.4|
|Assessed requirement of adaptation to school provision:|
Source: Pupil Census 2016
Although there is very limited evidence available for some of the protected characteristics (pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, sexual orientation and religion and belief), the evidence also showed:
- From the Child Health 27-30 Month Review Statistics Scotland 2015/16 one in four children from the more deprived areas (26%) had at least one developmental concern identified in the 27-30 month review compared to one in nine for the least deprived areas (11%).
- The difference between the percentage of pupils achieving the expected CfE level generally increases as children progress through the primary and secondary stages.
- A higher percentage of girls consistently achieve the expected CfE level compared to boys across all stages and curriculum areas regardless of where they live.
- The difference in the percentage of girls and boys achieving CfE levels becomes smaller for children living in less deprived areas.
Pregnancy and maternity
- There is a strong correlation between deprivation and teenage pregnancy. In the most deprived areas in 2014, the rate of teenage pregnancy in the under 16 age group was 5.2 times the rate in the least deprived areas (8.2 and 1.6 per 1,000 women respectively).
- UK level figures suggest that teenage mothers are 20% more likely to have no qualifications than older mothers.
Gender reassignment, sexual orientation and religion and belief
- Although the exact numbers of children and young people under these categories is not known, bullying and other barriers to learning are known to disproportionately impact on the outcomes of children and young people.
Key findings - impact
The EQIA process did not identify any indirect, direct or unlawful discrimination arising through the policy intention, design or activity being implemented as part of the Attainment Challenge. The Attainment Challenge is intended to be inclusive. Targeting resources, through the Attainment Scotland Fund, to children and young people living in poverty is intended to have a significant positive impact on lives of children and young people affected by poverty, including those in the equality groups.
Where equality issues have emerged for pupils who also are affected by poverty, the Attainment Challenge will advance equality of opportunity by providing resources suitable to addressing the needs of children in equalities groups and help to address the poverty related attainment gap for all.
The Attainment Challenge is also expected to promote good relationships. It encourages professionals working with children and young people to maintain a clear line of communication with the families of children and young people who will benefit from the resources or activities under the Attainment Challenge, and the children and young people themselves.
There is also evidence emerging from early Attainment Challenge activity to demonstrate that reasonable adjustments are being made to support children and young people with protected characteristics. For example, investment in speech and language development, additional support for speakers of English as an Additional Language, and/or fund Educational Psychologists, counsellors and nurture bases.
A number of actions are being taken to ensure that the Scottish Attainment Challenge does not directly or indirectly, unlawfully discriminate. For example:
- Through Pupil Equity Funding, the reach of the Scottish Attainment Challenge has now been extended to 95% of schools in Scotland. The National Operational Guidance and the grant terms and conditions for the use of the funding, makes clear that resources should promote equity by taking into account equality groups when planning support and interventions. Additionally, the use of Pupil Equity Funding should be planned for and monitored via existing planning and reporting processes. The guidance around this process makes clear links to How Good is Our School (Edition 4) which contains an equality indicator.
- Through the 2017 National Improvement Plan, the Scottish Government committed to work with stakeholders to explore and agree which specific measure s are most useful to drive improvement across all stages of a child or young person's life, with the intention of using these to measure progress towards closing the gap. A key focus of those discussions will be to avoid the creation of perverse incentives through whatever targets, milestones or aims that may be set nationally or locally.
- Work is on-going to ensure that the examples, tools and resources on the National Improvement Hub include examples of effective interventions that apply to all children and young people, including those in equality groups. It includes the Interventions for Equity initial framework to support the implementation of the Attainment Challenge by local authorities and schools will continue to be updated and developed.
- As part of the overall evaluation of the Attainment Scotland Fund, an external piece of qualitative research will assess the impact of the Fund on reducing the poverty related attainment gap. It will collect stakeholder views as to whether the fund has had a positive or negative impact on inequalities amongst groups such as in terms of gender, pupils with additional support needs, looked-after status, English as an additional language, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gypsy/travellers, pregnancy or maternity and urban/rural differences. It will specifically evaluate what worked particularly well and what barriers stakeholders faced when trying to improve attainment or health and wellbeing of pupils in poverty who also face inequalities as part of any of these other characteristics.
- During school inspections Education Scotland will evaluate Quality Indicator 3.1 - Ensuring Wellbeing Equality and Inclusion. Any equality issues identified will be highlighted to the Scottish Attainment Challenge team by HMI and these will be reviewed to ensure that there has been no unintended consequence on the protected characteristics as a result of the Attainment Challenge programme. Any follow up which is required will be planned appropriate.
- We will continue to monitor the impact of the Attainment Challenge on children and young people in school education with protected characteristics through existing data sources where they exist (i.e. age, gender, disability and race). Where it is not possible to monitor the impact through central data, we will work with local government and other stakeholders to identify any local activity that we may be able to draw evidence from.
The EQIA process did not identify indirect or direct discrimination through the policy intention and identified a number of actions being taken to ensure that the Attainment Challenge does not directly or indirectly, unlawfully discriminate (refer to key findings).
This EQIA analysis will be kept under regular review, with any new data or evidence analysed as it becomes available to monitor the on-going impact of the Attainment Challenge on equality groups. Further, a new EQIA analysis will be undertaken in advance of any significant changes to the Scottish Attainment Challenge. Any review will be undertaken in partnership with local government and other relevant stakeholders.
Telephone: Central Enquiries Unit 0300 244 4000