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Using an Adverse Childhood Experiences tracker to inform targeted support in Glasgow

Last updated:
12 January 2017

What is this?

​Drawing on the experiences considered in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) research, this resource has been developed to provide an additional layer of evidence and intelligence for schools with high levels of deprivation.

Who is this for?

​Staff considering the targeting of support for the most vulnerable children, particularly in areas where high numbers of children live in SIMD 1 and 2.

Improvement questions

  1. What data do we currently use in our establishment to identify children who require targeted support to address the poverty-related attainment gap?
  2. If we were to use the ACEs indicators, who would be best placed to source information about  your children?
  3. Taking into account data protection protocols, what type of information about a children’s previous or current family experience do the practitioners who work with the child know / need to know?
  4. Are there indicators relevant to the context of your establishment / children not included in this matrix?


PDF file: P4 anonymous ACEs tracker (397 KB)

PDF file: P7 anonymous ACEs matrix (461 KB)

​Explore this resource

Background information

When identifying the poverty-related attainment gap, schools typically begin by looking at SIMD and attainment levels. In some schools where almost all children live in SIMD 1 and 2, it is difficult to identify the children for whom poverty is the primary barrier to their attainment.

Adverse Childhood Experiences have been linked to:

  • risky health behaviours
  • chronic health conditions
  • low life potential, and
  • early death.

As the number of ACEs increases, so does the risk for these outcomes.

In a school with 75% + children living in Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) deciles 1 and 2, the matrix has been developed and used with a cohort of children to assist in targeting the most vulnerable children in order to address issues of inequity. 

The wide-ranging health and social consequences of ACEs underscore the importance of preventing them before they happen in order to ensure a positive impact on a broad range of health problems and on the development of skills that will help children reach their full potential.

This simple P7 ACEs matrix draws on some of the indicators in the ACEs study, and can assist schools in identifying the most vulnerable children. This then informs the type and level of support children need, allowing the school to plan, implement and track progress carefully, as seen on the P4 ACEs matrix tracker. Using this holistic approach to data, can ensure that targeted resources, support or interventions can be planned to close the poverty-related attainment gap for these children.

Further reading

Research (“Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults,” published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in 1998, Volume 14, pages 245–258.) shows that childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue. Much of the foundational research in this area has been referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).


Learning and assessment; Inclusion and Equality; Scottish Attainment Challenge