Pupil Equity Funding: Planning, Best Practice and Next Steps for Delivery

This timely briefing will explore the impact of the £120 Million Pupil Equity Fund on raising attainment for the most socio-economically disadvantaged students; providing an overview of implementation, developments and good practice.


Announced in December 2016 as part of the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget, the Pupil Equity Fund brings total funds for tackling the attainment gap to £170 million for 2017/18 and has been allocated proportionally based on the number of students from P1 to S3 who are receiving free school meals at each establishment. Schools received the funds directly, with Head teachers having the autonomy to direct spending in response to the needs of their students and in line with school development plans. With funds distributed in April 2017 and an anticipated commitment for funding over the next three years, it is an opportune time to review implementation so far and how this is likely to shape priorities for the future.

Key issues to be addressed:

  • Priorities and aims of the Pupil Equity Fund and how this can reduce the attainment gap in Scotland
  • Examples of good practice, assessing the key drivers of improvement, and examining how schools can utilise resources such as the Teaching and Learning Toolkit and the Interventions for Equity Framework
  • The importance of data in helping improve intervention delivery and identifying students in need of support


09.15 Registration and morning refreshments

9.55 Welcome and introduction by the Chair

Tam Baillie, Former Commissioner for Children and Young People Scotland

Session one: Policy Overview

Context and objectives

  • The Attainment Gap and the need for targeted support
  • Key priorities and objectives for the Pupil Equity Fund: literacy, numeracy, and emotional wellbeing.
  • The Pupil Equity Fund’s relationship to funding and governance structures and how school empowerment is best suited to delivering holistic interventions

10.00 PEF: The Teachers' Perspective

Andrea Bradley, Assistant Secretary Education & Equality, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)

10.20 First Things First: Laying the groundwork for equity by understanding and addressing cost barriers at school

 Sara Spencer, Cost of the School Day Project Manager (National Development), Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland

10.40 Questions and discussion

11.00 Refreshments and networking

Session two: Effective Interventions and Good Practice

This session will explore key drivers of improvement and how schools can utilise resources such as the Teaching and Learning Toolkit and the Interventions for Equity Framework to make evidence based planning decisions.

11.30 Pupil Equity Fund: Key criteria to supporting attainment

 Stephen Miller, Rector, Denny High School and President, School Leaders Scotland (SLS)

11.40 The Fund and Additional Support Needs: The Case for Assistive Technology

Paul Nisbet, Director, CALL Scotland: Communication and Assistive Technology for Learners in Scotland

Speakers will be joined by Heather Cameron, Depute Head of Denny High School during questions and discussion.

11.50 Questions and discussion

Panel Discussion: Collaboration for Attainment

  • Exploring the importance of working with and engaging students, parents, the local community, local authorities and partnerships as well as collegiately in school clusters.
  • Ensuring social and emotional needs of pupils are being met.
  • What are our best opportunities for promoting family learning and out of school engagement?

12.05 Parents as Partners

Owen Derrick, Inverclyde Representative, The National Parent Forum of Scotland

12.15 Working in Partnership with Families and Communities

Eleanor Coner, Partnership Development Officer, SPTC

12.25 Children's University Scotland: Learning beyond the classroom

Roseanne Smith, Project and Development Manager, Children’s University Scotland

12.35 Questions and discussion

13.10 Lunch and networking

Session three: Monitoring and Next Steps

This final session will look at how gathered data will help improve intervention delivery and how this will shape policy and funding going forward.

13.55 Closing the gap: A Finland case study

An overview of the Finnish education system, policy transfer, and how they pertain to policy initiatives in Scotland. 

Dr Jennifer Chung, Lecturer in Education and Social Sciences, St Mary's University

14.10 Questions and discussion

14.25 Minding the Gap: Equity and Autonomy

Does PEF provide real autonomy for schools to innovate and if so, how will the impact be measured?

Frank Lennon, Member, Commission on School Reform and Former Head, Dunblane High School

14.40 Discussion: What will be the impact of data on the future model of the Pupil Equity Fund?

  • How can we identify students in need of support, improve school accountability, and effectively highlight the evolution of good practice to shape the fund going forward?

15.15 Close of event

*subject to change

Venue and costs

Event location: The Mews (NASUWT), 35 Young Street North Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 4JD 

  • Discounted rate: 1 place £145 + VAT (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email enquiries@holyrood.com or phone 0131 285 1635

21 June 2017



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