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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-13723: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 9 January 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-10674 by John Swinney on 24 August 2017, whether the work to agree an approach to help drive improvement progress in reducing the attainment gap concluded in December 2017 and, if (a) not, (i) for what reason and (ii) by what date it will conclude and (b) so, what approaches it (A) selected and (B) rejected, broken down by reason, including whether each method would enable direct comparisons with previous years.

Answered by: John Swinney 17 January 2018

The Scottish Government published its basket of key measures and milestones towards closing the attainment gap for each of those measures as part of the National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan in December 2017. The Scottish Government worked with key stakeholders to explore and agree these specific measures and milestones which will bring clarity about the outcomes being achieved across the system and help drive improvement across all stages of the learner journey and the breadth of issues that can impact on attainment.

As set out in the NIF and Improvement Plan, responses to the consultation generally supported the proposed approach and agreed that a single measure could not describe the attainment gap appropriately. There was also broad support for the use of stretch aims to set milestones for improvement. In response to the views expressed an additional three measures have been included in the basket of key measures: two additional health and well-being measures, covering the social, emotional and behavioural development of children and young people, and one on the achievement of one or more SCQF level 4 qualification upon leaving school.

This is the first time we have had a consistent, national approach to measuring the attainment gap and agreed milestones towards closing it. Some of the key measures are based on existing data which is directly comparable with previous years. Other key measures are new. Moving forward, we will be able to make direct comparisons against previous years across all of the key measures.