Summary of Evidence for Key Priorities
The evidence in this chapter has shown that while Scottish pupils are performing similar to the OECD average, the attainment in numeracy and literacy in the Broad General Education phase has generally declined in recent years. At the same time, data on qualifications at the end of the Senior Phase and on positive leaver destinations shows improvement, both generally and in terms of equity.
There is evidence of a gap in the development between pupils from the most deprived and least deprived areas from before pupils start Primary 1, which continues to exist throughout the Broad General Education and Senior Phase, and is clearly visible in final qualifications results. Evidence suggests that the effect of pupils' socio-economic background on their attainment in Scotland is comparable to the OECD average in science and maths, but lower in reading.
The findings in this chapter show a mixed picture on progress in health and wellbeing. There are positive results on some aspects, such as that almost all pupils say their general health was 'good' or 'very good', the proportion of boys of healthy weight has been increasing in recent years, substance use has declined considerably over the last couple of decades, most 13 and 15 year olds felt confident about their health and wellbeing choices, and most pupils enjoy learning.
However, there are challenging results on some aspects, such as mental wellbeing for girls aged 13 to 15 years was significantly lower than for boys, children from deprived areas were more likely to have borderline or abnormal scores in relation to their social, emotional and behavioural development than those in least deprived areas, and 15 year olds living in deprived areas were more likely to regularly smoke and take drugs.