Attainment and achievement of school aged children experiencing poverty


About the Inquiry

The Committee has carried out an inquiry on the impact of experiencing poverty on young people at school, including their attainment and their achievement. 

The Committee's previous work on attainment can be found here.

We looked at what is happening across Scotland, inside and outside school to support school children experiencing poverty.

A link to the report from the inquiry is here.

A link to the quick read version of the report is here.


The Committee heard evidence at five committee meetings in April and May 2018.

18 April 2018

This was the inquiries initial meeting where the Committee explored a wide range of topics.  The Committee heard evidence from:

  • CPAG Scotland
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • The Educational Endowment Foundation
  • The Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change.

Read the papers for this meeting (pdf 1.6MB)

Read the Official Report.

25 April 2018

The focus of this meeting was on secondary schools. The Committee heard evidence from:

  • EIS
  • Connect
  • Dare2Lead
  • Prince's Trust Scotland
  • The Spark

Read the papers for this meeting (pdf 1.2KB)

Read the Official Report

2 May 2018 

The focus of this meeting was on primary schools. The Committee heard evidence from:

  • Barnardo's
  • Children's Parliament
  • Dalmarnock Primary School
  • One Parent Families Scotland
  • Poverty Truth Commission

Read the papers for this meeting (pdf 814KB)

Read the Official Report

9 May 2018

This meeting included two panels.  The first had a focus on services provided in the community which affect the attainment and achievement of young people experiencing poverty.  The second focused on the role of local government.

The first panel had representatives from:

  • Aberlour Child Care Trust
  • Home-Start UK
  • Learning Link Scotland
  • Scouts Scotland
  • Youthlink

The second panel had representatives from:

  • City of Edinburgh Council
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • North Lanarkshire Council

Read the papers for this meeting (pdf 1.40MB)

Read the Official Report

23 May 2018

The Committee heard evidence from Education Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

Read the papers for this meeting (pdf 1.1MB)

Read the Official Report


The deadline for written evidence has now passed. Views and experiences of from individuals and organisations have beeen published.

Background on attainment and achievement

Attainment and achievement may mean different things to different people.

The Scottish Government has developed a “basket” of key measures on attainment covering qualifications, literacy and numeracy levels, attendance, and health and wellbeing.

Education Scotland states that achievement covers: “learning in other areas of the life of the school, and in the variety of activities children and young people are involved in”. Education Scotland has produced a list of what this might mean in practice.

Visits and Events

The Committee would like to thank all the people it heard from in this inquiry.

The Committee heard from a variety of individuals who are directly affected by this issue and those who work with families who experience poverty and support children's attainment and achievement.  The Committee held a number of events to speak with a variety of individuals.

Meet and greet 

The Committee held a community meeting on 16 May 2018 at the Muirhouse Millenium Centre.  

The Committee heard evidence from parents/guardians/carers, young people and a variety of professionals who are working directly with families affected by poverty.  

Informal meetings

The Committee heard from the third sector, community and membership organisations who gave formal evidence at the meetings on 25 April, 2 May and 9 May. These organisations brought along a small number of practitioners and/or service users for an informal dialogue with members of the Committee immediately before the formal sessions.


The Committee had an interesting visit to a school in Dunfermline on Tuesday 1 May.

Community Learning and Development

The Committee held a discussion group on this topic with CLD professionals on Monday 30 April.


Inquiry report

The Committee published its report that includes a series of recommendations on 12 July 2018:

Read the report (Recommendations from page 3, paragraph 13)

The Committee also published a quick read version of the report which summarizes its findings and recommendations.

Read the quick read version here.

The Committee received the following responses to its report.

The Committee received an additional response from COSLA on its report

The Convener wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for education and Skills in respect of the response from COSLA.

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