Last Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2021

National Action Enquiry Programme for Educational Psychologists (2016-17)

What is this?

​​​​​​​On 6th and 7th of June 2016 educational psychologists (EPs) from across Scotland attended a two day symposium to launch an innovative new programme of action enquiry research focused on closing the poverty related attainment gap. The poverty related attainment gap incudes rural poverty. This is an exciting opportunity to read about Scottish research, undertaken in Scottish schools by Scottish educational psychologists in partnership with Scottish teachers, children and young people.

The programme is supported by Education Scotland as part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, in partnership with the Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists and the British Psychological Society: Scottish Division of Educational Psychology.

Who is this for?

​This research is relevant to practitioners, teachers, headteachers, local authority staff and others, interested in evidence based approaches to closing the poverty-related attainment gap in numeracy and mental health.​

​Improvement questions


A sample of questions posed are:

  • ​What is the most effective method of observing metacognitive strategies in use within the classroom?
  • What do we consider are the pre-requisites for​ the development of metacognitive practice within the classroom to support numeracy development and attainment of those children living in poverty?
  • Will using two Curriculum for Excellence outcomes in health and wellbeing to frame an intervention with teachers, improve their knowledge, understanding and skills?
  • How could a more robust tracking and monitoring system for wellbeing begin to be created to address the attainment gap?
  • What do parents already do to support their child’s numeracy development?
  • How confident are parents at supporting their child’s numeracy development?
  • What influences parental confidence?
  • Is Glasgow Counts an effective way of raising attainment in numeracy?
  • Is Glasgow Counts effective in closing the poverty-related attainment gap in numeracy?
  • Is Glasgow Counts effective in changing teacher and pupil attitudes towards numeracy?
  • Does the ASD Consultation Approach lead to improved health and well-being outcomes for children?


​​PDF file: Aberdeen City Council EPS research (474 KD)

PDF file: Argyll​ and Bute Council EPS research (477 KD)

PDF file: East Ayrshire Council EPS research (515 KD)

PDF file: East Dunbartonshire Council EPS research (687 KD)

PDF file: East Renfrewshire Council EPS research (728 KD)

PDF file: Edinburgh Council EPS research (386 KD)

PDF file: Falkirk Council EPS research (308 KD)

PDF file: Fife Council EPS research - metacognitive strategies (331 KD)

PDF file: Fife Council EPS research - named persons (310 KD)

PDF file: Glasgow City Council EPS research (376 KD)

PDF file: Highland Council EPS research (826 KD)

PDF file: Inverclyde Council EPS research (738 KD)

PDF file: Moray Council EPS research (563 KD)

PDF file: Perth and Kinross Council EPS research (573 KD)

PDF file: South Ayrshire Council EPS research (482 KD)

PDF file: South Lanarkshire Council EPS research (643 KD)

PDF file: West Lothian Council EPS research ​(305 KD)

About this research​

​What is the context for this research?

All of the research explores two key areas of the curriculum:

  • Numeracy: child development of numeracy skills, how to teach numeracy, and comparative reviews of the literature to progress our understanding of how children learn mathematical concepts.
  • Health and Wellbeing: an emphasis on growth mind-set​, the measurement of wellbeing and teaching approaches to improve children’s motivation, resilience and confidence.


Read the first set of eight reports.​​​

It is our aim that the work started by educational psychology services across Scotland will not end with the summary reports. In fact, almost all of the research initiatives will continue to be developed by educational psychologists in their own services and schools and across other EPS in Scotland. It is an exciting opportunity to learn from one another and to develop a rich evidence base which can be used by Scottish teachers to enhance outcomes for children and young people in Scotland.​

Please get in touch with the authors if you would like more information or want to replicate the approaches used.

How was the research carried out?​

Each summary report outlines the research methodology used to investigate research questions generated from rigorous literature reviews of children’s attainment in numeracy and health and wellbeing. A few illustrate how real world research can be used to evaluate outcomes and gather more rigorous evidence.​

What did the research look at?​


The research is practical and applied in Scottish schools by Scottish teachers. Examples are:

  1. ​​Fife Council: Closing the numeracy attainment gap through the application of metacognitive strategies in primary education.

  2. Aberdeen City: Counting for success: reducing the numeracy attainment gap by building capacity across a learning community using action research to facilitate practitioner enquiry.

  3. Highland Council: Numeracy: Investigating parent perspectives.

  4. ​​Moray: Building teachers knowledge, understanding and skills in aspects of the wellbeing curriculum to track and monitor progress for all.

  5. South Ayrshire: Children and Young people’s mental health difficulties: Young people’s and professionals’ perceptions.

  6. East​ Dunbartonshire: Closing the poverty related attainment gap: Using Learning Journals to engage parents at the early level, with a particular focus on numeracy.​

About the author(s)

All of the researchers are educational psychologists working in local authority educational psychology services.

Related research/reading

The literature reviews in each of the summary reports will provide useful reading materials and references for specific research papers which will assist you in your own research and teaching.


The findings and recommendations from the research and development project are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Education Scotland.​​​​