Last Updated: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Stirling’s Excellence and Equity Strategy

What is this?

​​In 2018-19, Stirling updated their strategy for achieving excellence and closing the poverty related attainment gap. This has resulted in a concise coherent ‘Excellence and Equity Strategy’ with associated toolkits to support its implementation across the authority.

Who is this for?

This will be of particular interest to those involved in the Scottish Attainment Challenge and those interested in closing the poverty related attainment gap including partners of education. It will also be of interest to staff who are keen to develop their skills in data analysis and planning for school improvement.​

Research was led by Stirling’s Lead Officer for Excellence and Equity and their Attainment Advisor. It involved several working groups of practitioners from early years, primary and secondary schools and educational psychology services. The resources developed include:

  • One page Excellence and Equity Strategy
  • One page overview of hyperlinks to all the local and national strategies which support excellence and equity agenda
  • Equity toolkit
  • Data Impact Toolkit
  • Outcome and Measures Toolkit

Improvement questions

  • Does your authority have or need a strategy to lead or direct the excellence and equity agenda?
  • If it does, who should be involved in the development of this? Should partners be involved?
  • Do all staff within each educational establishment understand:
    • The contextual analysis of their school or establishment?
    • What data is available to schools or establishments? And how do you use and analyse data for improvement for a school and/ or class?
    • What does a SMART outcome look like? Are all my outcomes learner based?
    • Are the impact measures meaningful to my practice and children?


PDF file: Stirling’s Excellence and Equity Strategy (378 KB)

PDF file: Overview of local and national strategies which support excellence and equity agenda (470 KB)

PDF file: Equity toolkit (500 KB)

PDF file: Data Impact Toolkit (46 KB)

PDF file: Outcome and Measures Toolkit (131 KB)

What was done?

A short life working group was convened in September 2018 to consider Stirling's current Attainment Strategy. Questions asked included:

  • Was the current strategy used by practitioners? Did it help improve practice?
  • Was an attainment strategy required for Stirling? Analysis of other authorities websites had shown that not all authorities have such a strategy.
  • What would help educational practitioners with achieving excellence and equity for children in Stirling?

The working group agreed that an Excellence and Equity Strategy would be of more use, but that it had to be concise and based on practice. They felt there were already numerous strategies at a local and national level that supported excellence and equity and wanted a way to pull these together in the one space for ease of access for practitioners. The group also felt that schools and staff were at a variety of different stages in their journey towards excellence and equity. Therefore, one resource would not suit everyone and the idea of having a variety of different toolkits was developed. The areas which they felt most practitioners would benefit from further support were around data analysis, outcomes and measures and exemplars of good practice.

Subgroups were then agreed to work on a variety of tasks, again supported by the Lead Officer for Excellence and Equity and Stirling's Attainment Advisor. The following resources were developed from September 2018 until March 2019:

  • One page Excellence and Equity Strategy: this emphasises the need to create a vision which actively promotes excellence and equity, ensuring learning experiences are high quality, engaging and accessible to all, there is a focus on developing a data culture within the school and the need for actively working with parents, children and partners.
  • One page overview of hyperlinks to all the local and national strategies which support excellence and equity agenda. This includes links to National Improvement Framework, GIRFEC, local and national Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) guidance, broad general education (BGE) toolkit, Insight, Interventions for Equity, Education Endowment Fund (EEF), etc.
  • Equity toolkit: this provides staff with research informed information about why some of the attainment gaps exist within Stirling and nationally. It then goes on to advise on effective interventions in each of the areas including literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing (HWB), areas of high deprivation, hidden poverty. The toolkit can be used when considering the school or authorities contextual analysis of why their attainment gaps exist. It should be used alongside school/ authority data for these discussions.
  • Data Impact Toolkit: this provides practitioners with practical advice on where to find data on their school, what type of data they should be considering and provides a framework for how to analyse the data. It has hyperlinks to all the data sites and reports from SEEMIS.
  • Outcome and Measures Toolkit: this provides staff with general guidance on how to write meaningful outcomes and measures for Pupil Equity Funding (PEF). However, it then goes on to give examples of specific outcomes and a variety of different measures for literacy, numeracy, HWB (e.g. late coming, attendance, parental engagement, HWB skills, etc). This could also be utilised for school improvement planning.

All the resources are now available for Stirling staff via their intranet.

Why was this done?

Stirling's Attainment Strategy was due to be updated in 2018-19. The authority's Lead Officer for Excellence and Equity and Attainment Advisor were asked to complete this task. They agreed that consulting with practitioners on the current document was vital in order to inform next steps.

What was the impact?

The strategy and toolkits were well received at their launch in March 2019 by head teachers. Visits to support PEF planning in April –June 2019 highlighted that staff are using these resources effectively. There is also qualitative evidence of improved contextual analysis and identification of attainment gaps within PEF planning as well as improved clarity of the outcomes and measures being used to assess impact. This will continue to be evaluated and further self-evaluation of this will be available in October 2019.