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Publication - Research Publication

Attainment Scotland Fund interim report (years 1 and 2): evaluation

Published: 16 Mar 2018
Part of:
Children and families, Education, Research
ISBN:
9781788516938

The evaluation aims to provide learning about the overall implementation of the Attainment Scotland Fund over its first two years.

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6 page PDF

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Contents
Attainment Scotland Fund interim report (years 1 and 2): evaluation
11. Progress towards high level outcomes

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405.0kB

11. Progress towards high level outcomes

11.1. This chapter explores to what extent the fund contributed to an improvement in attainment and Health and Wellbeing, and a reduction of the gap between pupils from the most and least deprived areas.

Chapter Highlights – Long Term Outcomes

  • Current measures of attainment provide a snapshot of attainment levels in the first two years of the fund. The next report will allow us to measure attainment over time.
  • Whilst Challenge Authorities all had high levels of deprivation, levels of attainment within authorities and across different measures varied.
  • Across all attainment and Health and Wellbeing measures, pupils from the least deprived areas consistently outperformed pupils from the most deprived areas.

Literacy and Numeracy attainment

  • At primary level, the attainment gap was larger in Literacy than in Numeracy. At secondary level however, the attainment gap was larger in Numeracy than in Literacy.
  • At primary and secondary level, the attainment gap within Challenge Authorities was smaller than the attainment gap at both national level and within non-Challenge Authorities.
  • Overall, Challenge Authorities reported a higher percentage of primary and secondary pupils from the most deprived areas achieving expected levels compared to average at national level and within non-Challenge Authorities.

Health and wellbeing

  • Those living in the least deprived areas consistently recorded higher levels than those living in the most deprived areas.
  • The proportion of 16-19 year olds participating in education, training or employment increased over time, including in six out of the nine Challenge Authorities. Overall, the poverty related gap reduced by 1.3 percentage points in 2017 (vs 2016).

To what extent did overall Numeracy and Literacy attainment increase?

11.2. The measures used to assess Literacy and Numeracy attainment have largely been taken from the 2018 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan. The plan sets out a basket of key measures and sub measures to assess progress. For Literacy and Numeracy these are:

Figure 11.1: Key measures of attainment
Figure 11.1: Key measures of attainment

Figure 11.2: Sub-measures of attainment
Figure 11.2: Sub-measures of attainment

11.3. The current data available provides a snapshot of attainment levels. It is expected that as data collection methods continue to take place, data that tracks progress over the life of the fund should be available.

11.4. Additionally, this section also draws on data from the New Group Reading Test ( NGRT) which described the reading performance of P4 and P7 pupils in the participating Challenge Authorities during the first two years of the fund.

11.5. Overall, levels of Numeracy and Literacy attainment varied between local authorities. Some Challenge Authorities performed better or worse than Scotland as a whole. This varied by measures with no clear pattern of performance.

11.6. Literacy attainment as measured by NGRT remained largely stable over the two years it was tracked. There was evidence of some improvement in reading attainment for P7 pupils in Dundee and both P4 and P7 pupils in North Ayrshire.

Primary Attainment

11.7. This section describes the performance of P1, P4 and P7 pupils in three aspects of Literacy (Reading, Writing and Listening & Talking) and Numeracy.

11.8. Literacy levels have been measured using Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels ( ACEL) for year 2016/17, that is Year 2 of the fund. Data from the NGRT also gives insight into the Reading performance of pupils at the primary level, and how this changed from Year 1 (2015/16) to Year 2 (2016/17).

11.9. ACEL data is provided for each of the Challenge Authorities. However, ACEL 2016/17 results continue to be data under development and local authority comparisons should not be made without full knowledge of local authorities' approach to assessment.

11.10. Across P1, P4 and P7, there was a higher percentage of pupils achieving expected levels for Listening and Talking compared to Reading, Writing and Numeracy. The percentage of pupils achieving the CfE expected levels was lowest for Writing.

11.11. Levels of attainment at the primary level varied across Challenge Authorities. Some reported a higher percentage of primary pupils achieving expected levels compared to Scotland as a whole.

11.12. The paragraphs that follow provide greater detail into each of the curriculum organisers taking each in turn: Reading, Writing, Listening & Talking and Numeracy.

Primary – English Reading

11.13. There was variation between Local Authorities in levels of Reading attainment. Across all primary stages, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde reported a higher percentage of pupils achieving expected Reading levels compared to Scotland as a whole.

11.14. Table 11.1 shows the percentage of primary pupils achieving expected levels in Reading for their relevant stage across Scotland and in each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.1: Percentage of pupils achieving expected levels for Reading for their relevant stage (P1, P4, P7) ( ACEL, 2016/17) – Challenge Authorities

Local Authority P1 (%) P4 (%) P7 (%)
Clackmannanshire 81 65 70
Dundee 78 73 73
East Ayrshire 80 67 64
Glasgow 77 76 76
Inverclyde 85 77 78
North Ayrshire 81 75 76
North Lanarkshire 77 72 74
Renfrewshire 84 80 80
West Dunbartonshire 78 76 67
Scotland 80 77 76

11.15. NGRT data provides further insight into the Reading performance of P4 and P7 pupils. Wave 1 took place in 2016 and included schools in the seven Challenge Authorities benefitting from the fund at that time. Wave 2 took place in 2017 and included eight (of the nine) authorities.

11.16. Overall, results recorded in 2017 were consistent with the baseline year (2016). P7 pupils' score was in line with what would be expected for their age. The average score of P4 pupils was statistically significantly lower than the expected score for their age (score of 95 compared to the standard age score of 100).

11.17. Table 11.2 shows the mean score of all participating P4 and P7 pupils in both years of the test.

Table 11.2: NGRT mean score – Total (all participating Challenge Authorities) – Year 1 and Year 2

Year 1 (2016) Year 2 (2017)
P4 mean score 95 95
P7 mean score 99 100

11.18. There were statistically significant differences between local authorities. During Year 2, in both P7 and P4, pupils in West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire and North Ayrshire continued to record the highest scores. Full details by local authority can be found in Table 11.3 below.

Table 11.3: NGRT mean scores by Challenge Authority – Year 1 and Year 2

P4 mean score P7 mean score
Local Authority Year 1 (2016) Year 2 (2017) Year 1 (2016) Year 2 (2017)
Clackmannanshire 93.1 93.8 98.5 99.2
Dundee 93.9 93.8 96.8 98.2
East Ayrshire 94.9 100.1
Glasgow 94.4 98.4
Inverclyde 96.5 97.3 100.7 100.7
North Ayrshire 94.9 96.2 99.2 100.5
North Lanarkshire 95.0 94.8 100.0 99.6
Renfrewshire 93.8 100.8
West Dunbartonshire 96.5 97.0 101.5 102.1

Primary - English Writing

11.19. Overall, Writing recorded the lowest levels compared to Reading, Listening and Talking and Numeracy.

11.20. As with Reading, there was variation in Writing across Challenge Authorities. Renfrewshire and Inverclyde reported a higher percentage of pupils across all primary stages achieving expected levels in Writing compared to Scotland as a whole.

11.21. Further detail is provided below. Table 11.4 shows the percentage of primary pupils achieving expected levels in Writing for their relevant stage across Scotland and for each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.4: Percentage of pupils achieving expected levels for Writing ( ACEL, 2016/17)

Local Authority P1 (%) P4 (%) P7 (%)
Clackmannanshire 77 58 49
Dundee 73 66 62
East Ayrshire 76 62 59
Glasgow 75 70 69
Inverclyde 83 73 69
North Ayrshire 78 69 69
North Lanarkshire 75 67 68
Renfrewshire 82 73 71
West Dunbartonshire 69 70 59
Scotland 77 71 69

Primary – English Listening and Talking

11.22. The data regarding Listening and Talking varied, both between Challenge Authorities, and within Challenge Authorities across the primary stages.

11.23. Renfrewshire and Inverclyde reported a higher percentage of pupils achieving expected levels for Listening and Talking across all primary stages. Other local authorities also performed particularly well when compared to Scotland as a whole in different primary stages.

11.24. Table 11.5 shows the percentage of primary pupils achieving expected levels for Listening and Talking across Scotland and in each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.5: Percentage of pupils achieving expected levels for Listening and Talking ( ACEL, 2016/17)

Local Authority P1 (%) P4 (%) P7 (%)
Clackmannanshire 86 76 75
Dundee 87 82 77
East Ayrshire 85 78 70
Glasgow 83 83 81
Inverclyde 87 88 84
North Ayrshire 88 82 83
North Lanarkshire 82 79 78
Renfrewshire 91 88 86
West Dunbartonshire 84 83 75
Scotland 85 83 81

Primary – Numeracy

11.25. Similar to the other curriculum organisers, performance in Numeracy varied between and within Challenge Authorities.

11.26. Renfrewshire reported the highest proportion of pupils achieving expected levels for Numeracy across all primary stages.

11.27. Some local authorities performed particularly well when compared to Scotland as a whole. In particular, Inverclyde, Glasgow and North Ayrshire. Inverclyde reported a higher percentage of P4 and P7 pupils achieving expected Numeracy levels. Glasgow and North Ayrshire also reported higher percentage of P7 pupils achieving expected Numeracy levels compared to national average.

11.28. Table 11.6 shows the percentage of primary pupils achieving expected levels for Numeracy across Scotland and in each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.6: Percentage of pupils achieving expected levels for Numeracy ( ACEL, 2016/17)

Local Authority P1 (%) P4 (%) P7 (%)
Clackmannanshire 79 60 54
Dundee 79 70 60
East Ayrshire 81 63 57
Glasgow 83 75 72
Inverclyde 88 74 74
North Ayrshire 83 75 73
North Lanarkshire 82 72 68
Renfrewshire 88 76 74
West Dunbartonshire 81 71 63
Scotland 83 75 70

Secondary Attainment

11.29. This section describes Literacy and Numeracy performance of S3 pupils in 2016/17. It provides information on the proportion of pupils who achieved Third Level or better.

11.30. Attainment was measured using ACEL. In order to understand performance across Challenge Authorities, local data has been provided. However, ACEL 2016/17 results continue to be data under development and Local authorities comparisons should not be made without full knowledge of Local authorities' approach to assessment.

11.31. In secondary schools, the percentage of pupils achieving Third Level or better was highest for Listening and Talking and lowest for Numeracy. There was variation within Challenge Authorities:

  • North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire reported a higher percentage of S3 pupils achieving minimum expected levels compared to Scotland as a whole across all four curriculum organisers.
  • Dundee and West Dunbartonshire reported a higher percentage of S3 pupils achieving minimum expected levels compared to Scotland for all curriculum organisers, expect for Numeracy.

11.32. Table 11.7 shows the percentage of S3 pupils that achieved Third level or better across Scotland, and by Challenge Authority.

Table 11.7: Percentage of S3 pupils achieving Third level or better ( ACEL, 2016/17)

Local Authority Reading (%) Writing (%) Listening & Talking (%) Numeracy (%)
Clackmannanshire 84 82 87 64
Dundee 92 91 92 84
East Ayrshire 86 85 88 85
Glasgow 87 85 89 86
Inverclyde 90 89 92 82
North Ayrshire 89 88 88 81
North Lanarkshire 94 93 95 93
Renfrewshire 94 93 94 93
West Dunbartonshire 91 91 95 84
Scotland 90 89 91 88

Senior Phase Attainment

11.33. This section reports on the percentage of school leavers achieving awards by SCQF Levels in year 2015/16, prior to the expansion of the Attainment Scotland Fund to the secondary stage. Therefore, it provides a picture of performance prior to the fund being introduced.

11.34. Overall, 86% of school leavers achieved 1+ award at SCQF Level 5 and 62% at Level 6 in Scotland 2015/16. There were variations between Challenge Authorities.

11.35. At SCQF Level 5, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire had the highest percentage of school leavers achieving at least one award in 2015/16; and were above the level achieved in Scotland as a whole.

11.36. At SCQF Level 6, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire had the highest percentage of school leavers achieving at least one award in 2015/16 and were above the level achieved in Scotland as a whole. Further detail is provided below. Figure 11.3 and Figure 11.4 show the percentage of school leavers achieving one or more awards at Level 5 and Level 6 across Scotland, and by Challenge Authority.

Figure 11.3: Percentage of school leavers achieving 1+ award at SCQF Level 5, 2015/16
Figure 11.3: Percentage of school leavers achieving 1+ award at SCQF Level 5, 2015/16

Figure 11.4: Percentage of school leavers achieving 1+ award at SCQF Level 6, 2015/16
Figure 11.4: Percentage of school leavers achieving 1+ award at SCQF Level 6, 2015/16

To what extent was there a reduction in the attainment gap amongst pupils?

11.37. The consultation on measuring the attainment gap led to the decision to use a basket of 11 key measures and 15 sub measures. The measures reported in this section are in line with the finalised NIF improvement plan. These are:

  • Primary level: the difference between the percentage of primary pupils (P1, P4, P7 combined) from the 20% most and least deprived areas achieving expected levels, as measured by ACEL.
  • Secondary level: the difference between the percentage of S3 pupils from the 20% most and least deprived areas achieving Third Level or better as measured by ACEL.
  • Senior phase: the difference between the percentage of school leavers from the 20% most and least deprived areas gaining one or more awards at SCQF Level 5 and 6.

11.38. In addition, evidence from the NGRT is included in this interim report to describe the attainment gap in Reading performance for Challenge Authorities during the first two years of the fund.

11.39. Overall, there was a gap recorded between those pupils living in the most and the least deprived areas of Scotland. The gap increased between primary and secondary students.

11.40. Overall, the attainment gap within the Challenge Authorities varied. Some had a larger, some had a smaller, and some had a similar attainment gap to that at national level.

11.41. The ACEL data for primary and secondary stages revealed that the attainment gap in Challenge Authorities was smaller than both the attainment gap at national level and in non-Challenge Authorities.

11.42. Challenge Authorities generally reported a higher percentage of primary and secondary pupils from the 20% most deprived areas achieving expected curriculum levels compared to non-Challenge Authorities and Scotland as a whole.

11.43. At Senior Phase, the attainment gap in Challenge Authorities was similar to the attainment gap at national level but smaller than for non-Challenge Authorities.

Primary Attainment Gap

11.44. To consider attainment by levels of deprivation, a combined score for pupils at Primary 1, 4 and 7 is reported. For Literacy in particular, the attainment gap is measured by combining scores across three curriculum organisers (Reading, Writing and Listening & Talking). This is in line with the agreed key measures as part of the National Improvement Framework.

11.45. Overall, the attainment gap in Scotland for primary pupils was larger in Literacy (21.8 percentage points) than it was in Numeracy (17.3 percentage points).

11.46. A higher proportion of primary pupils from the least deprived areas of Scotland achieved expected levels in both Literacy and Numeracy than pupils living in the 20% most deprived areas. Details shown in Figure 11.5.

Figure 11.5: Percentage and percentage points gap of primary pupils achieving expected levels, by deprivation ( ACEL 2016/17)
Figure 11.5: Percentage and percentage points gap of primary pupils achieving expected levels, by deprivation (ACEL 2016/17)

11.47. The paragraphs that follow provide greater detail at a local-authority level in the attainment gap in Literacy and Numeracy for both primaries and secondaries.

Primary Attainment Gap – Literacy

11.48. Literacy levels at primary level for children from the 20% most and least deprived areas is defined by combining scores across three curriculum organisers (Reading, Writing, Listening & Talking).

11.49. There are differences in the Literacy attainment gap between Challenge Authorities. When compared to Scotland:

  • One authority had a larger attainment gap (East Ayrshire)
  • Three authorities performed similarly to the national average (Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Glasgow)
  • The other five authorities had a smaller attainment gap

11.50. The Challenge Authorities reporting a higher percentage of pupils from the most deprived areas achieving expected levels were also the authorities that reported a higher percentage of pupils from least deprived areas achieving expected levels.

11.51. Further detail on the attainment gap by each Challenge Authority can be found in Table 11.8 below.

Table 11.8: Percentage of Primary Pupils achieving expected levels in Literacy, by Challenge Authority and deprivation ( ACEL 2016/17)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 56.8 48.2 66.1 17.9
Dundee 64.6 58.6 75.0 16.4
East Ayrshire 61.3 50.1 77.0 26.9
Glasgow 68.4 64.7 87.0 22.3
Inverclyde 72.3 65.0 86.3 21.4
North Ayrshire 69.5 63.1 82.4 19.3
North Lanarkshire 67.6 58.1 78.1 20.1
Renfrewshire 72.7 62.9 84.6 21.6
West Dunbartonshire 63.7 59.4 73.0 13.5
Scotland 69.2 59.8 81.6 21.8

11.52. Overall, Challenge Authorities reported a lower percentage of pupils overall achieving expected levels in Literacy compared to Scotland.

11.53. Overall, the attainment gap in Literacy for primary pupils was smaller in Challenge Authorities compared to the average at both national level and in non-Challenge Authorities.

11.54. Positively, the attainment gap was smaller in Challenge Authorities because pupils in the most disadvantaged areas performed better. Still, the gap amongst pupils living in the least disadvantaged areas was less pronounced.

11.55. Table 11.9 shows how Challenge Authorities and non-Challenge Authorities performed compared to Scotland overall.

Table 11.9: Percentage of Primary Pupils achieving expected levels in Literacy – Challenge and non-Challenge Authorities, by deprivation ( ACEL, 2016/17)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge Authorities 67.5 61.4 80.9 19.5
Non-Challenge Authorities 70.1 57.2 81.7 24.5
Scotland 69.2 59.8 81.6 21.8

11.56. NGRT data provides evidence about the attainment gap in reading for primary pupils. Table 11.10 shows the difference between NGRT scores for pupils in the 20% most and least deprived areas.

Table 11.10: NGRT points difference between pupils from 20% highest and lowest deprived areas

Year 1 (2016) Year 2 (2017)
Primary 4 8 7
Primary 7 9 8

11.57. On average, pupils in the most deprived areas recorded lower scores than those in the least deprived. However, overall the gap between the most and the least deprived narrowed slightly in both P4 and in P7. This is not a statistically significant difference.

11.58. The size of the attainment gap as measured by NGRT varied across Challenge Authorities. Table 11.11 shows the attainment gap between the 20% most and least deprived P4 and P7 pupils by each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.11: Attainment Gap as measured by NGRT for P4 and P7 pupils, 2016 and 2017

P4 pupils P7 pupils
Year 1 2016 Year 2 2017 Year 1 2016 Year 2 2017
Clackmannanshire 5 7 11 11
Dundee 9 6 10 7
East Ayrshire 7 8
Glasgow 10 12
Inverclyde 9 8 10 10
North Ayrshire 5 7 6 9
North Lanarkshire 6 7 8 8
Renfrewshire 9 9
West Dunbartonshire 6 9 7 -1

11.59. In seven out of the eight participating Challenge Authorities, there was a statistically significant difference between pupils from the most and least deprived areas. The exception to this was West Dunbartonshire, which scored similarly across SIMD for P7 results in 2017. However, it should be noted that the number of pupils in SIMD 9-10 who sat the test was relatively small for West Dunbartonshire with less than 50 pupils in the top 20%.

11.60. Overall, the attainment gap was larger in P7 than in P4. The P7 attainment gap narrowed by 1.5 points from 2016 to 2017. This change was not significant.

11.61. Challenge Authorities recorded consistent results over time. The key differences from Year 1 to Year 2 to note are:

  • Dundee closed the attainment gap between the most and the least deprived by 3 points both in P4 and in P7
  • The attainment gap in North Ayrshire was wider in P4 (by 2 points) and in P7 (by 3 points)

Primary Attainment Gap – Numeracy

11.62. There are differences in the Numeracy attainment gap across Challenge Authorities. When compared to Scotland:

  • Three Challenge Authorities reported a smaller attainment gap (Dundee, North Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire)
  • One authority had a similar attainment gap (Glasgow)
  • The other five authorities had a larger attainment gap

11.63. Table 11.12 shows the difference in the percentage of primary pupils achieving expected levels in Numeracy across each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.12: Percentage of Primary Pupils achieving expected levels in Numeracy, by Local Authority and deprivation ( ACEL, 2016/17)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 64.0 52.9 76.2 23.3
Dundee 70.2 66.3 76.8 10.6
East Ayrshire 67.3 56.9 78.4 21.5
Glasgow 76.8 74.5 91.7 17.2
Inverclyde 79.0 70.6 91.4 20.9
North Ayrshire 77.2 72.9 84.8 11.9
North Lanarkshire 74.0 66.4 85.1 18.7
Renfrewshire 79.7 70.6 89.4 18.8
West Dunbartonshire 72.1 68.2 84.4 16.2
Scotland 76.4 69.2 86.5 17.3

11.64. Overall, Challenge Authorities reported a lower percentage of pupils achieving expected levels in Numeracy compared to Scotland.

11.65. Table 11.13 shows how Challenge Authorities and non-Challenge Authorities performed compared to the total for Scotland.

Table 11.13: Percentage of primary pupils achieving expected levels in Numeracy – Challenge and non-Challenge Authorities, by deprivation ( ACEL, 2016/17)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge Authorities 74.8 70.1 85.6 15.5
Non-Challenge Authorities 77.1 67.8 86.6 18.9
Scotland 76.4 69.2 86.5 17.3

11.66. The attainment gap in Numeracy was smaller in Challenge Authorities than in non-Challenge Authorities. The gap was slightly narrower than in Scotland as a whole.

11.67. Positively, the attainment gap was smaller in Challenge Authorities because pupils in the most disadvantaged areas living there performed better. Still, the gap amongst pupils living in the least disadvantaged areas was less pronounced.

Secondary Attainment Gap

11.68. The Attainment gap at secondary level is measured by the percentage of S3 pupils achieving CfE Third Level or better in Literacy and Numeracy.

11.69. Overall, a higher proportion of S3 pupils from the least deprived areas achieved minimum expected levels in Literacy and Numeracy compared to pupils from the most deprived areas.

11.70. At national level, the attainment gap at S3 level was larger in Numeracy than in Literacy. Details provided in Figure 11.6 below.

Figure 11.6: Percentage and percentage point gap of S3 pupils achieving CfE Third level, by deprivation ( ACEL 2016/17) - Scotland
Figure 11.6: Percentage and percentage point gap of S3 pupils achieving CfE Third level, by deprivation (ACEL 2016/17) - Scotland

Secondary Attainment Gap - Literacy

11.71. Overall, the Literacy attainment gap in Scotland for secondary pupils was 13.6 percentage points.

11.72. When looking at results for the Challenge Authorities, only two authorities (East Ayrshire and Clackmannanshire) reported a larger attainment gap compared to Scotland. North Ayrshire's attainment gap was similar to national level. All other Challenge Authorities reported a smaller attainment gap.

11.73. Table 11.14 shows the difference in the percentage of S3 pupils achieving CfE Third Level or better in Literacy across each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.14: Percentage of S3 Pupils achieving Third Level or better in Literacy by Local Authority and deprivation ( ACEL 2016/17)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 80.1 73.4 91.7 18.2
Dundee 89.1 83.0 94.9 11.9
East Ayrshire 82.1 74.4 96.3 21.8
Glasgow 83.5 81.6 88.5 6.9
Inverclyde 87.1 83.1 90.8 7.7
North Ayrshire 85.8 82.3 95.4 13.1
North Lanarkshire 91.6 87.6 96.5 8.8
Renfrewshire 91.8 88.9 96.2 7.3
West Dunbartonshire 88.7 84.7 92.7 8.0
Scotland 87.1 80.8 94.4 13.6

11.74. Challenge Authorities overall reported a similar percentage of secondary pupils achieving expected levels in Literacy compared to Scotland.

11.75. Overall, the attainment gap in Literacy for secondary pupils was smaller in Challenge Authorities compared to the average at both national level and in non-Challenge Authorities. The same pattern was evident in primary schools.

11.76. Positively, the attainment gap was smaller in Challenge Authorities because pupils in the most disadvantaged areas performed better. Still, the gap amongst pupils living in the least disadvantaged areas was less pronounced.

11.77. Table 11.15 shows how Challenge Authorities and non-Challenge Authorities performed compared to Scotland overall.

Table 11.15: Percentage of S3 pupils achieving minimum expected levels in Literacy – Challenge and non-Challenge Authorities, by deprivation ( ACEL, 2016/17)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge Authorities 87.2 83.0 94.3 11.3
Non-Challenge Authorities 87.1 77.5 94.5 17.0
Scotland 87.1 80.8 94.4 13.6

Secondary Attainment Gap - Numeracy

11.78. Overall, the Numeracy attainment gap in Scotland for secondary pupils was 14.8 percentage points; slightly larger than for Literacy (which was 13.6).

11.79. When looking at results for the Challenge Authorities, four authorities recorded a larger attainment gap in Numeracy for S3 pupils compared to Scotland (Clackmannanshire, Dundee, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire). The remaining five Challenge Authorities reported a smaller attainment gap compared to Scotland.

11.80. Table 11.16 shows the difference in the percentage of S3 pupils achieving CfE Third Level or better in Numeracy across each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.16: Percentage of S3 Pupils achieving Third Level or better in Numeracy by Local Authority and deprivation ( ACEL 2016/17)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 64.1 53.1 81.3 28.1
Dundee 83.7 76.0 94.9 18.9
East Ayrshire 84.6 76.8 95.6 18.8
Glasgow 85.8 83.6 96.3 12.8
Inverclyde 82.0 76.3 89.7 13.4
North Ayrshire 80.9 74.7 93.9 19.2
North Lanarkshire 93.2 88.8 98.2 9.4
Renfrewshire 92.8 88.0 97.4 9.5
West Dunbartonshire 84.5 77.5 90.2 12.8
Scotland 88.2 80.7 95.5 14.8

11.81. As seen in the results for Literacy, the attainment gap was slightly narrower in Challenge Authorities than it was at national level or within non-Challenge Authorities. Challenge Authorities performed poorer overall, and reported a similar percentage of pupils from the least deprived areas achieving expected levels but a higher percentage of pupils from the most deprived areas were achieving expected levels.

11.82. Table 11.17 shows the percentage of S3 pupils achieving minimum expected levels at Challenge Authority, non-Challenge Authority and national level.

Table 11.17: Percentage of S3 Pupils achieving minimum expected levels in Numeracy – Challenge and non-Challenge Authorities, by deprivation ( ACEL, 2016/17)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge Authorities (total) 86.6 81.6 95.5 13.9
Non-Challenge Authorities (total) 88.9 79.2 95.4 16.2
Scotland 88.2 80.7 95.5 14.8

Senior Phase Attainment Gap

11.83. At Senior Phase, attainment by levels of deprivation draws on data regarding the percentage of school leavers from the 20% most and least deprived areas gaining one or more awards at SCQF Level 5 and 6 in 2015/16.

11.84. The data provides a picture prior to the fund being introduced across secondary schools.

11.85. At national level, the attainment gap between school leavers from the 20% most and least deprived areas was wider at SCQF Level 6 than Level 5. Further detail provided in Table 11.18.

Table 11.18: Percentage of school leavers attaining 1+ SCQF awards, by deprivation (2015/16)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
SCQF Level 5 85.6 74.4 94.7 20.3
SCQF Level 6 61.7 42.7 81.2 38.5

11.86. There are variations when looking at local authority level data. Following the national pattern, the gap between pupils form the most and least deprived areas widened from SCQF Level 5 to Level 6 across all Challenge Authorities.

11.87. The attainment gap at SCQF Level 5 was wider in six Challenge Authorities than it was at national level. It was smaller in three authorities: West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

11.88. Table 11.19 provides further detail.

Table 11.19: Percentage of leavers attaining 1+ awards at SCQF Level 5, by Challenge Authority and deprivation (2015/16)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 79.3 67.3 91.8 24.5
Dundee 80.0 68.1 94.6 26.5
East Ayrshire 83.2 73.1 95.6 22.5
Glasgow 82.1 77.7 97.3 19.6
Inverclyde 88.7 82.3 96.4 14.1
North Ayrshire 83.4 72.9 93.4 20.5
North Lanarkshire 85.5 74.3 96.0 21.7
Renfrewshire 87.1 76.6 95.9 19.3
West Dunbartonshire 87.8 82.3 97.4 15.1
Scotland 85.6 74.4 94.7 20.3

11.89. The attainment gap in Challenge Authorities was similar to the gap at national level. The attainment gap in non-Challenge Authorities was wider by 2.1 percentage points when compared to Scotland.

11.90. Pupils living in areas of greater deprivation performed better in Challenge Authorities (75.8) than in non-Challenge Authorities (72.1). The difference amongst pupils living in the least deprived areas was less pronounced. Table 11.20 shows further detail.

Table 11.20: Percentage of leavers attaining 1+ awards at SCQF Level 5 – Challenge and non-Challenge Authorities, by deprivation (2015/16)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge Authorities (total) 84.0 75.8 95.7 20.0
Non-Challenge Authorities (total) 86.4 72.1 94.5 22.4
Scotland 85.6 74.4 94.7 20.3

11.91. The attainment gap at SCQF Level 6 or better was wider in four Challenge Authorities than it was at national level. Conversely, it was smaller in three authorities: West Dunbartonshire, Glasgow and Clackmannanshire. Further detail provided in Table 11.21.

Table 11.21: Percentage of leavers attaining 1+ awards at SCQF Level 6, by Challenge Authority and deprivation (2015/16)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 51.7 34.5 71.4 36.9
Dundee 53.9 37.5 79.3 41.8
East Ayrshire 56.8 38.0 80.0 42.0
Glasgow 55.3 48.1 84.3 36.2
Inverclyde 59.7 42.2 84.3 42.1
North Ayrshire 59.3 42.2 81.1 38.9
North Lanarkshire 59.3 41.5 83.8 42.3
Renfrewshire 62.9 45.0 84.3 39.3
West Dunbartonshire 63.8 53.1 80.5 27.4
Scotland 61.7 42.7 81.2 38.5

11.92. The attainment gap in Challenge Authorities was similar to the gap at national level (38.0 vs 38.5 across Scotland as a whole). The attainment gap in non-Challenge Authorities was wider by 2.3 percentage points compared to Scotland.

11.93. Pupils living in areas of greater deprivation performed better in Challenge Authorities (44.4) than in non-Challenge Authorities (40.1). The variation amongst pupils living in the least deprived areas was less pronounced. Table 11.22 shows further detail.

Table 11.22: Percentage of leavers attaining 1+ SCQF Level 6 – Challenge and non-Challenge Authorities, by deprivation (2015/16)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge Authorities (total) 58.0 44.4 82.4 38.0
Non-Challenge Authorities (total) 63.4 40.1 81.0 40.8
Scotland 61.7 42.7 81.2 38.5

Participation measure

11.94. The annual participation measure reports on the activity of the wider 16-19 cohort, including those at school, and is intended to help inform policy, planning and service delivery. The measure uses the shared data held by Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) and their Customer Support System ( CSS).

11.95. The annual participation measure is another key measure to track progress towards closing the attainment gap.

11.96. The proportion of 16-19 year olds participating in education, training or employment was 91.1% in 2017, an increase of 0.7 percentage points compared to 2016.

11.97. Conversely the proportion not participating within the annual measure was 3.7 in 2017, compare to 4.0% in 2016. This represents a 0.3 percentage point decrease.

11.98. At a local authority level there was a variation of 9.3 percentage points between the highest and the lowest in 2017. The highest participation rate was in Eilean Siar at 96.9% and the lowest was in Dundee City at 87.6%. Overall, there were 23 out of the 32 Local authorities showing an increase in participation between 2016 and 2017. When looking specifically at the Challenge Authorities, six of the nine recorded an increase in 2017. Detail is provided in Table 11.23.

Table 11.23: Annual Participation Measure – Challenge Authorities – Over Time

Annual Participation Measure 2016 2017 Percentage point change between 2017 and 2016
Clackmannanshire 88.2 89.7 1.5
Dundee City 87.7 87.6 -0.1
East Ayrshire 89.3 88.1 -1.2
Glasgow City 86.8 88.2 1.4
Inverclyde 91.2 91.9 0.7
North Ayrshire 89.9 90.3 0.4
North Lanarkshire 89.3 90.2 0.9
Renfrewshire 90.7 91.4 0.7
West Dunbartonshire 88.4 88.3 -0.1
Scotland 90.4 91.1 0.7

11.99. The participation measure can be explored further by area of deprivation. Overall, those who lived in more deprived areas were less likely to be reported as participating within the annual measure than those living in less deprived areas.

11.100. There is an 11.6 percentage point difference in the participation rate between those living in the most deprived areas ( SIMD Quintile 1) and those living in the least deprived areas ( SIMD Quintile 5). See figure below.

Figure 11.7: Participation rate, by deprivation (Skills Development Scotland)
Figure 11.7: Participation rate, by deprivation (Skills Development Scotland)

11.101. The overall reduction in the poverty related gap was due to higher increases amongst the most deprived SIMD groups as shown in the figure below.

Figure 11.8: Participation rate, by SIMD Decile
Figure 11.8: Participation rate, by SIMD Decile

11.102. Currently there is no available data of SIMD by local authority, and hence detail analysis of deprivation at a local authority level is not possible.

To what extent did overall Health and Wellbeing improve? To what extent was there a reduction in the poverty related gap in Health and Wellbeing?

11.103. The measures to assess overall Health and Wellbeing and measure the poverty related attainment gap have been taken from the 2018 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan. The plan sets out a basket of key measures and sub measures to assess progress. For Health and Wellbeing these are:

Figure 11.9: Key measures of Health and Wellbeing
Figure 11.9: Key measures of Health and Wellbeing

Figure 11.10: Sub measures of Health and Wellbeing
Figure 11.10: Sub measures of Health and Wellbeing

11.104. Currently, most data is available for year 2014/15, thus allowing us to obtain a picture of affairs prior to the fund starting. The next report should cover the period up until 2020, thus including progress over the years of the fund.

Health and wellbeing key measures

Total Difficulties Score

11.105. The social, emotional and behavioural development of children has been measured via the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire ( SDQ). The SDQ is a brief behavioural screening questionnaire designed for use with the 3-16 age group.

11.106. The SDQ comprises 25 questions covering themes such as consideration, hyperactivity, malaise, mood, sociability, obedience, anxiety and unhappiness. It is used to measure five aspects of development: emotional symptoms; conduct problems; hyperactivity/ inattention; peer relationship problems; and pro-social behaviour.

11.107. A score was calculated for each of the five aspects, as well as an overall 'total difficulties' score which was generated by summing the scores from all the domains, except pro-social behaviour. The total difficulties score ranged from 0 to 40 with a higher score indicating greater evidence of difficulties. There are established thresholds indicating 'normal' (score of 13 or less), 'borderline' (14-16) or 'abnormal' scores (17 or above).

11.108. Across Scotland, the proportion of children who had a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score appeared to increase with age. This was 14% amongst children aged 4-12, and 31% amongst children aged 13 and 15.

11.109. Regardless of age, children in the most deprived areas were more likely to have a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score. This is summarised in Table 11.24 and further detail is given in the paragraphs that follow.

Table 11.24: Total Difficulties Score – By Deprivation

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Total difficulties score (aged 4-12) 14 22 6 16
Total difficulties score (aged 13 & 15) 31 34 26 8

Children aged 4–12 years old

11.110. The social, emotional and behavioural development of children aged 4-12 has been measured in the Scottish Health Survey via the SDQ. In the Scottish Health Survey, the SDQ was completed by a parent on behalf of all children aged 4-12.

11.111. The proportion of children aged 4-12 who had a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score decreased between 2003 (17%) and 2014/15 (14%).

11.112. Children in the most deprived areas were more likely to have a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score (22%) than those in the least deprived (6%) in 2014/2015.

Children aged 13 and 15

11.113. The social, emotional and behavioural development of children aged 13 and 15 was measured using the same approach, that is the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire ( SDQ). The data collection used was the Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey ( SALSUS), which allows for greater sample size amongst the year groups of interest. Pupils complete the survey themselves.

11.114. The proportion of children aged 13 and 15 who had a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score was 31% in 2015. Overall, there had been a slight decrease in the percentage of pupils with a normal score between 2010 and 2015 (from 75% in 2010 to 69% in 2015) and a light increase in the percentage of pupils with an abnormal score (from 11% in 2010 to 15% in 2015).

11.115. Children in the most deprived areas were more likely to have a borderline or abnormal total difficulties score (34%) than those in the least deprived (26%) in 2015.

Health and wellbeing sub measures

Mental wellbeing score - WEMWBS

11.116. Mental wellbeing is measured using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale ( WEMWBS) questionnaire and is used as a sub measure to report progress around Health and Wellbeing.

11.117. While the SDQ measures emotional and behavioural problems, WEMWBS measures mental wellbeing – for example how good a pupil is feeling or how well they think they are coping in their life. In the WEMWBS scale, the lowest score possible (indicating poor mental wellbeing) is 14 and the highest is 70 (indicating good mental wellbeing), so a higher average score for any particular group indicates higher mental wellbeing.

11.118. The WEMWBS scale was added to SALSUS in 2010 and the latest data provides a picture between 2010 and 2015. Therefore, the data available portrays the state of affairs prior to the Fund being introduced.

11.119. Overall, mental wellbeing among 13 to 15 year olds decreased with age for all children. Mental wellbeing recorded significantly higher levels for 13 to 15 year old boys than for girls. The figure below presents data by year group and gender.

WEMWBS average score by age and gender (2015)
WEMWBS average score by age and gender (2015)

11.120. Mental wellbeing showed a correlation with areas of deprivation. Overall, pupils in the least deprived areas had a higher WEMWBS mean score indicating better mental wellbeing than those in the most deprived areas.

11.121. Table 11.25 shows the mental wellbeing score by those most and least deprived and displays the gap between the two.

Table 11.25: Mental Wellbeing mean score – By Deprivation ( WEMWBSSALSUS 2015)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Mental Wellbeing Score (13 year old boys) 51.4 49.9 52.6 2.7
Mental Wellbeing Score (13 year old girls) 48.2 47.2 49.1 1.9
Mental Wellbeing Score (15 year old boys) 50.1 49.3 50.6 1.3
Mental Wellbeing Score (15 year old girls) 44.4 43.7 45.8 2.1

11.122. There is no current data at a local authority level. Hence a detailed examination of how Challenge and non-Challenge Authorities performed is not possible at this stage.

Attendance rates

11.123. Information on attendance and exclusions from schools is collected on a biennial basis. At the point of writing the report, the most recent dataset fully available for analysis was for the 2014/15 academic year. This provides a picture of state of affairs prior to the fund being introduced.

11.124. Detailed information is published in Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland, but below is a summary of the key measures deemed relevant to measuring the attainment gap.

11.125. Overall, the attendance rate was 93.7% for academic year 2014/15. The attendance rate was higher for primary schools (95.1%) than secondary schools (91.8%).

11.126. Attendance levels were also higher amongst those pupils living in areas of lower deprivation, compared to those living in areas of greater deprivation.

11.127. Table 11.26 shows attendance levels for primary and secondary schools by those most and least deprived and displays the gap between the two.

Table 11.26: Total Attendance Rates – (Summary Statistics for Schools 2015, Scottish Government)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Primary attendance rates 95.1 93.3 96.7 3.4
Secondary attendance rates 91.8 88.7 94.5 5.8

11.128. When looking at attendance at a local authority level there are some differences. The gap in primary attendance rates was larger in three Challenge Authorities than it was at national level, namely: Glasgow, Inverclyde and North Lanarkshire. It was smaller in the remaining six Challenge Authorities.

11.129. Table 11.27 shows the difference in primary attendance rates for pupils from the most and least deprived areas, across each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.27: Primary Attendance Rates – By Deprivation (2015, Scottish Government)

Primary attendance rates All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 94.7 93.4 96.1 2.8
Dundee City 94.3 93.3 96.5 3.3
East Ayrshire 95.1 93.8 96.5 2.7
Glasgow City 93.9 93.1 96.8 3.7
Inverclyde 94.6 93.3 96.9 3.6
North Ayrshire 95.0 94.2 96.3 2.1
North Lanarkshire 94.4 92.8 96.7 3.9
Renfrewshire 95.7 94.2 97.1 2.9
West Dunbartonshire 95.0 94.0 97.1 3.1
Scotland 95.1 93.3 96.7 3.4

11.130. Overall, the attendance rate in Challenge Authorities was higher for primary pupils living in areas of lower deprivation (96.7%) compared to those living in areas of greater deprivation (93.3%). The gap in primary attendance rates in Challenge Authorities was the same as the gap at national level. Table 11.28 provides further detail.

Table 11.28: Primary Attendance Rates – Challenge vs non Challenge Authorities - By Deprivation (2015, Scottish Government)

Primary attendance rates All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge authorities (total) 94.5 93.3 96.7 3.4
Non-Challenge Authorities (total) 95.3 93.1 96.7 3.6
Scotland 95.1 93.3 96.7 3.4

11.131. The gap in secondary attendance rates varied across the Challenge Authorities. When compared to Scotland:

  • One authority had a similar gap (Clackmannanshire)
  • Three authorities had a smaller gap (Glasgow, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire)
  • The gap was larger in the remaining five authorities

11.132. Table 11.29 shows the difference in secondary attendance rates for pupils from the most and least deprived areas, across each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.29: Secondary Attendance Rates – Local authority - By Deprivation (2015, Scottish Government)

Secondary attendance rates All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 91.1 88.2 94.0 5.8
Dundee City 90.0 87.3 93.7 6.3
East Ayrshire 91.2 87.7 94.5 6.8
Glasgow City 91.1 90.1 95.1 5.0
Inverclyde 91.0 88.7 94.5 5.7
North Ayrshire 91.1 89.1 93.9 4.8
North Lanarkshire 90.8 87.8 94.5 6.7
Renfrewshire 90.9 87.5 93.7 6.2
West Dunbartonshire 89.6 87.3 93.4 6.2
Scotland 91.8 88.7 94.5 5.8

11.133. Overall, the attendance rate in Challenge Authorities was higher for secondary pupils living in areas of lower deprivation (94.2%) compared to those living in areas of greater deprivation (88.8%). The gap in secondary attendance rates in Challenge Authorities was smaller than the gap at national level. Table 11.30 provides further detail.

Table 11.30: Secondary Attendance Rates – Challenge vs non Challenge Authorities - By Deprivation (2015, Scottish Government)

Secondary attendance rates All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge authorities (total) 90.8 88.8 94.2 5.4
Non-Challenge Authorities (total) 92.3 88.5 94.5 6.1
Scotland 91.8 88.7 94.5 5.8

Exclusion rates

11.134. As stated above, data on exclusion rates is collected biannually. The latest data available for analysis is from 2014/15, providing a picture of state of affairs prior to the launch of the fund.

11.135. Detailed information is published in Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland, but below is a summary of the key measures deemed relevant to measuring the attainment gap.

11.136. Overall, the exclusion rate for all pupils in 2014/15 was 27.2 per 1,000 pupils. This has been steadily falling year on year since 2006/07.

Overall, the exclusion rate for all pupils in 2014/15 was 27.2 per 1,000 pupils. This has been steadily falling year on year since 2006/07.

11.137. The exclusion rate was significantly higher for secondary schools (49.5 per 1,000 pupils) than for primary schools (9.0 per 1,000 pupils).

11.138. Exclusion rates were significantly higher in the 20% most deprived areas compared to the 20% least deprived. Detail is shown in Table 11.31 and in the paragraphs that follow.

11.139. In primary schools, rates per exclusions per 1,000 pupils for pupils living in the 20% most deprived areas were 19.0 per 1,000 pupils compared with 2.1 per 1,000 pupils living in the 20% least deprived areas. This represents a gap of 16.9 points.

11.140. In secondary schools, the gap in exclusions is more pronounced. The exclusion rate per 1,000 pupils for pupils living in the 20% most deprived areas was 95.2 per 1,000 pupils compared with 15.1 per 1,000 pupils living in the 20% least deprived areas. This represents a gap of 80.1 points.

Table 11.31: Total Exclusion Rates per 1000 pupils – By Deprivation (Summary Statistics 2015, Scottish Government)

All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap
Primary exclusion rates (per 1,000) 9.0 19.0 2.1 16.9
Secondary exclusion rates (per 1,000) 49.5 95.2 15.1 80.1

11.141. Overall, exclusion rates for primary schools varied quite considerably across the Challenge Authorities. When compared to Scotland, Clackmannanshire, Dundee and East Ayrshire all reported a larger gap in exclusion rates. The remaining Challenge Authorities reported a smaller gap. Table 11.32 provides further detail.

Table 11.32: Primary Exclusion Rates per 1000 pupils – Local authority - By Deprivation (2015, Scottish Government)

Primary exclusion rates per 1000 pupils All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 34.1 68.0 5.7 62.3
Dundee City 20.1 29.9 2.1 27.8
East Ayrshire 22.5 54.2 3.8 50.4
Glasgow City 9.1 12.8 3.5 9.2
Inverclyde 2.4 3.9 0.0 3.9
North Ayrshire 4.1 8.8 0.0 8.8
North Lanarkshire 8.8 17.7 1.9 15.7
Renfrewshire 3.0 5.3 0.4 4.9
West Dunbartonshire 9.3 13.8 0 13.8
Scotland 9.0 19.0 2.1 16.9

11.142. Overall, the exclusion rate for all primary pupils in 2014/15 was higher in Challenge Authorities compared to Scotland overall.

11.143. Challenge Authorities overall reported a smaller gap in exclusion rates for pupils living in the most and least deprived areas, compared to Scotland. Non-Challenge Authorities reported a larger gap. The gap in exclusions was narrower in Challenge Authorities because the exclusion rate for pupils living in the most deprived areas was lower compared to the national level. Detail provided in Table 11.33.

Table 11.33: Primary Exclusion Rates per 1000 pupils – Challenge vs non Challenge Authorities - By Deprivation (2015, Scottish Government)

Primary exclusion rates per 1000 pupils All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge authorities (total) 10.4 17.6 1.9 15.7
Non-Challenge Authorities (total) 8.4 21.3 2.1 19.2
Scotland 9.0 19.0 2.1 16.9

11.144. The exclusion rate for all secondary pupils was higher in six Challenge Authorities compared to the rate nationally. It was lower in three Challenge Authorities: Inverclyde, North Ayrshire and Renfrewshire.

11.145. The gap in exclusion rates for secondary pupils was larger in Dundee and East Ayrshire compared to Scotland overall and smaller in all remaining seven Challenge Authorities.

11.146. Table 11.34 provides further detail regarding the difference in exclusion rates for pupils living in the most and least deprived areas, across each of the Challenge Authorities.

Table 11.34: Secondary Exclusion Rates per 1000 pupils – Local authority - By Deprivation (2015, Scottish Government)

Secondary exclusion rates per 1000 pupils All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Clackmannanshire 70.2 110.3 36.7 73.5
Dundee City 132.5 228.1 22.8 205.3
East Ayrshire 65.4 131.8 26.7 105.1
Glasgow City 63.5 78.3 7.6 70.7
Inverclyde 39.1 61.2 9.6 51.6
North Ayrshire 47.4 66.4 19.9 46.5
North Lanarkshire 57.2 95.9 18.0 78.0
Renfrewshire 34.5 56.0 9.6 46.4
West Dunbartonshire 57.0 81.0 23.3 57.7
Scotland 49.5 95.2 15.1 80.1

11.147. Overall, the exclusion rate for all secondary pupils in 2014/15 was higher in Challenge Authorities compared to Scotland overall.

11.148. As seen in the results for primary pupils, Challenge Authorities overall reported a smaller gap in exclusion rates for secondary pupils living in the most and least deprived areas compared to Scotland. Non-challenge authorities reported a larger gap. Table 11.35 provides further detail.

Table 11.35: Secondary Exclusions Rates per 1000 pupils – Challenge vs non Challenge Authorities - By Deprivation (2015)

Secondary exclusion rates per 1000 pupils All children % Most disadvantaged (bottom 20% SIMD) % Least disadvantaged (top 20% SIMD) % Gap Percentage points
Challenge authorities (total) 61.7 94.0 16.2 77.9
Non-Challenge Authorities (total) 44.0 97.1 15.0 82.2
Scotland 49.5 95.2 15.1 80.1

What do we know about the poverty related attainment gap at this point?

11.149. This section summarises evidence presented in this chapter to help address what this suggests about the poverty related attainment gap. Overall, there are three key points worth highlighting:

three key points

Poverty related attainment gap

11.150. There was consistent evidence of a gap in attainment and Health and Wellbeing between pupils from the most deprived and least deprived areas of Scotland.

Limited evidence to assess impact

11.151. There was limited evidence about the size of the attainment and Health and Wellbeing gap within Challenge Authorities compared to the rest of Scotland prior to the introduction of the Attainment Scotland Fund.

11.152. At primary and secondary stages, there does not exist local authority attainment data before the fund. The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy ( SSLN) provided data about Literacy and Numeracy levels at national level. However, this survey was not designed to provide data at local authority level.

11.153. At Senior Phase, school leaver attainment data provides a measure of attainment levels by deprivation and local authority. This data is available for previous years. However, the fund was only expanded to secondary schools during the second year that is 2016/17. The latest school leaver attainment data available is for 2015/16.

11.154. Ultimately, without more evidence, at this stage we are unable to conclude the level of impact the fund may have had in raising attainment and closing the poverty related gap.

Narrower gap in Challenge Authorities

11.155. Overall, Challenge Authorities recorded lower results, when compared to non-Challenge Authorities or with Scotland as a whole.

11.156. However, the attainment gap (at primary and secondary level) was narrower in Challenge Authorities than it was at national level or within non-Challenge Authorities. This is because pupils living in areas of greater deprivation performed better in Challenge Authorities than in non-Challenge Authorities.

11.157. Pupils from the most deprived areas in Challenge Authorities may do better than those in non-Challenge Authorities for a number of reasons. Currently the evaluation has not uncovered the reasons behind this.

11.158. Future reports of the Attainment Scotland Fund will continue to provide evidence which will aim to broaden the knowledge about the poverty related attainment gap.


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