About the Scottish Attainment Challenge

The Scottish Attainment Challenge is about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Equity can be achieved by ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed. We want a Scotland where every child achieves the highest standards in literacy and numeracy and the right range of skills, qualifications and achievements to allow them to succeed regardless of their background or circumstances. We will continue to raise attainment for all children but we will have a specific focus on closing the educational attainment gap.

The First Minister launched the Scottish Attainment Challenge in February 2015 to bring a greater sense of urgency and priority to this issue. It is underpinned by The National Improvement FrameworkCurriculum for Excellence and Getting it Right for Every Child.  The programme was refreshed in March 2022 and aims to support recovery from the pandemic and accelerate progress in closing the poverty related attainment gap.

Why it matters

It is unacceptable in Scotland that a child’s circumstances – where they live, their family’s circumstances – can still have a disproportionate impact on their chances of success. Levelling the playing field now will provide them with the education they deserve and the tools they need to succeed.

Our aims

The Scottish Attainment Challenge supports schools, local authorities and regional improvement collaboratives to focus on and accelerate targeted improvement activity in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. It also complements the broader range of initiatives and programmes to ensure that all of Scotland’s children and young people reach their full potential.


Scotland has 32 Attainment Advisors within Education Scotland’s regional improvement teams led by Senior Regional Advisors. They work collaboratively with colleagues in other directorates and teams, with improvement advisors and alongside local authority staff, community planning partners, headteachers and practitioners on agreed priorities which support raising attainment in the key areas of literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. They also contribute to appropriate regional improvement collaborative priorities with a focus on closing the poverty related attainment gap.

In line with the aims of the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the themes of: Leadership; Learning, teaching and assessment and Families and communities, the key functions of the Attainment Advisor role are to:

SAC aims circle - provide advice and guidance - lead improvement and build capacity - contribute to robust evaluation of impact


There are also a range of resources and support materials on the National Improvement Hub.

Information on the recent announcement of the refresh of the Scottish Attainment Challenge - Closing the attainment gap.