Scottish government’s ‘ambitious’ plan to tackle attainment gap questioned

The BBC is reporting that the Scottish government’s ability to close the education attainment gap between rich and poor students has been called into question.

The Commission on School Reform’s challenge paper was concerned the plan was “exceptionally ambitious” and the timescale may be “unrealistic”…

It said: “While it is good to be ambitious, there is no evidence to suggest that what is being attempted is feasible.”

Chairman Keir Bloomer, a former director of education, said: “The Scottish government are right to focus on the twin objectives of raising overall attainment and simultaneously closing the gap between the attainment of disadvantaged children and those from more affluent backgrounds.

“However, it is time for government to adopt clear strategies to achieve those valid ambitions.”

The commission outlined a number of challenges for the Scottish government and asked it to:

  • confirm the timescale over which it wishes to ensure that Scottish educational performance becomes once again amongst the world’s best,
  • confirm beyond doubt that reducing the gap in attainment between higher and lower attaining students must only be achieved by raising performance at the bottom end, not compromising standards amongst the most able,
  • accept that if Scotland’s education system is to become world leading within an acceptable timescale, transformational change not incremental advances will be required,
  • and review current plans to include supporting children who are living in poverty but attend schools that do not serve particularly deprived areas.

The report said: “Government has set out policy priorities with which few people will disagree. However, they are exceptionally ambitious. Timescales may well be unrealistic.

“The potential tension between raising standards for all and boosting the prospects of disadvantaged young people do not seem to have been fully explored.

“The commission is not persuaded that the strategies and support mechanisms that will be needed for success are yet in place.

“Attention does not seem to have been given to developing effective change mechanisms…”

More at: Scottish government’s ‘ambitious’ plan to tackle attainment gap questioned


Read or download the paper below:

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The suggestions seems to be that intentions are good – or at least they are making the right noises – but the plans are lacking – is that fair?

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