Closing the Attainment Gap: Measuring Progress and Improving Outcomes

Four years on from the launch of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, this event examines what progress has been made in closing the poverty-related attainment gap, the direction of education policy, and what the policy landscape means for teachers and other education professionals in Scotland. 

Improving attainment for all children and young people

Children from the most-deprived areas start school up to eighteen months behind the vocabulary ability of their wealthier peers. In response to this, the Scottish Government has made closing the poverty-related attainment gap its 'single most important objective'. An objective pursued through the Attainment Challenge, and underpinned by The National Improvement Framework, Curriculum for Excellence, and Getting it Right for Every Child.

Diagnosing issues in an individual child's progress is key to improving attainment for all children and young people, thus helping to close the poverty-related attainment gap. To measure student outcomes, the Scottish Government has reiterated its commitment to standardised assessments at all stages. It is argued in the National Improvement Framework 2019 that standardised assessments, complimented by teachers' professional judgements, will lead to 'a more consistent approach' to measuring individual attainment across Scottish education. 

Join us as we examine what progress has been made towards closing the poverty-related attainment gap, how this is measured, and what the policy landscape means for teachers and other education professionals in Scotland.

Key issues we will address with you

  • The impact of the Scottish Attainment Challenge on the poverty-related attainment gap
  • National Improvement Framework 2019
  • Measuring attainment following the switch from the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy to the Scottish National Standardised Assessments 
  • The relationship between literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, and attainment 
  • Empowering teachers: the key role of teachers' professional judgements 
  • Good practice and sharing learning around what works

 Confirmed speakers

  • Professor Geoff Masters, Chief Executive, Australian Council for Educational Research​ 
  • Dr Geetha Marcus, Senior Lecturer, Queen Margaret University and author of 'Closing The Attainment Gap: What Can Schools Do?' report for the Scottish Parliament 
  • Katharine Bailey, Director of Policy, Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University
  • Sue Palmer, Independent Writer and Education Consultant; Chair, Upstart Scotland 
  • Jenny Gilruth MSP, Member of the Education and Skills Committee, Scottish National Party (SNP)
  • Iain Gray MSP, Education Spokesperson, Scottish Labour
  • Liz Smith MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Scottish Conservatives 
  • Chair: Jenni Davidson, Journalist, Holyrood Magazine

Who should attend? 

  • Head teachers, deputy heads, principal teachers
  • All other primary and secondary teachers
  • Local authority education professionals
  • Elected representatives with an interest in education
  • Academics interested in education

Agenda*

9:45 Registration and Refreshments 

10:25 Welcome and Introduction from the Chair 

Jenni Davidson, Journalist, Holyrood Magazine

10.30 Session 1: Attainment in Context

A student's attainment is underpinned by home–school relationships, relationships within school, greater student participation, and social (in)equality. In this opening session, we draw on international evidence to examine these factors and explore the wider context around the poverty-related attainment gap.

10:30 Professor Geoff Masters, Chief Executive, Australian Council for Educational Research

11:00 Dr Geetha Marcus, Senior Lecturer, Queen Margaret University and author of 'Closing The Attainment Gap: What Can Schools Do?' report for the Scottish Parliament 

11:30 Q&A

11:40 Refreshments and Networking 

12:00 Session 2: Measuring Progress 

The switch from the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) to the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) has placed the way attainment is measured under the spotlight. In this session, we exame the respective roles of teachers' professional judgements and assessments. 

12:00 The Importance of Tracking Progress

Katharine Bailey, Director of Policy, Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University

12:30 Why Five-Year-Old Children Need Play, Not Tests

Sue Palmer, Independent Writer and Education Consultant; Chair, Upstart Scotland 

13:00 Q&A

13:10 Lunch and Networking

14:00 Session 3: Closing the Gap 

Improving attainment is the 'single most important objective' for the Scottish Government. Our panel of leading policymakers will examine what progress has been made in achieving that obective. They will explore the direction of education policy in Scotland, what future policy reforms can be expected, and what the policy landscape means for teachers and other education professionals in Scotland. 

14:00 Panel discussion

This is your opportunity to put your questions to leading policy makers and education experts. 

Panellists:

Jenny Gilruth MSP, Member of the Education and Skills Committee, Scottish National Party (SNP)
Iain Gray MSP, Education Spokesperson, Scottish Labour

Liz Smith MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Scottish Conservatives

Katharine Bailey, Director of Policy, Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University

14:50 Closing Remarks from the Chair 

Jenni Davidson, Journalist, Holyrood Magazine

15:00 Close of Event 

*The agenda is subject to change 


Our events are CPD certified. This event is equivalent to 3 CPD points.
A certificate is available on request post-event to all attendees.

 

 

Speaker callout

We are committed to bringing the latest policy information with engaging dialogue and practical case studies to make a real impact in the public sector. If you are a knowledge expert in your field or have an inspiring case study which would make an impact to Public Sector organisations, we would love to hear from you. Please email craig.kelly@holyrood.com with your name and contact details, linkedin profile and a summary of your project or area or expertise and we will be in touch.

Venue

COSLA Conference Centre, Verity House, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH

Costs

Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

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

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

Dates
10 September 2019
Location
COSLA Conference Centre, Verity House, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH
United Kingdom

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