MacKay Hannah

ONLINE CONFERENCE Tackling poverty and attainment in Scotland: The challenge beyond pandemic

Tue 8th Feb 2022

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

Scottish Government, councils, education departments, schools, teachers and third sector bodies all want to deliver real progress in tackling poverty and attainment. However its scale, nature and shape has worsened during pandemic. Everything that was already difficult is now more complex and more deeply seated. How therefore do we move forward? This conference will set out the strategic picture we now face, discuss the emerging evidence of what has been happening on the ground and give insight into effective interventions.

What exactly has happened to the shape and scale of Scotland’s poverty and attainment challenge during pandemic? It is now seven years since the publication of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on 'Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education'. What progress has been made since then and where does policy and practice need to go in order to meet both the long-term challenge and the additional complexities arising during and after pandemic?

Attainment in recent years has seen announcements on significant additional spending to boost services and support together with a range of initiatives. These include the Scottish Attainment Challenge, Access to Attainment Fund, National Improvement Framework and the Education (Scotland) Act. Where did we stand on attainment prior to pandemic? How has the challenge and the response developed during pandemic? How can schools, the wider community - and partnerships between schools and communities - take practical steps to close the attainment gap and meet the funding and service delivery challenge as it now presents itself post-pandemic?

This conference focuses on the core challenges we face in tackling poverty and attainment beyond covid. It discusses the approaches we need after pandemic and it is intended for all people and organisations involved in tackling poverty and attainment in Scotland. Against this backdrop the conference will focus on three broad themes:

  • Understanding the changing nature of the attainment challenge we face
  • Poverty and attainment - the picture arising from pandemic
  • Delivering effective interventions

Benefits of Attending

  • Understand how the nature of the attainment challenge we face has changed during pandemic
  • Find out how the picture on poverty and its effect on attainment has deepened with destitution emerging
  • Discuss what shapes effective interventions and how they are best delivered
  • Assess what is needed to close the attainment gap
  • Learn what is involved in prevention approaches
  • Consider the effect of the ‘cost of the school day’
  • Hear what is involved in delivering an evidence based strategy
  • Discover what matters in keeping those at risk included and in education


Jim McCormick

Chief Executive, Robertson Trust

Dr Laura Robertson

Researcher, The Poverty Alliance

Sara Spencer

Cost of the School Day Project Manager, CPAG in Scotland

SallyAnn Kelly

Chief Executive, Aberlour

Martin Dorchester

Chief Executive, includem

Claire Barton

Head of Services, includem

Meg Thomas

Head of Research, Policy & Participation, includem

Tam Baillie

Speaker, Trainer and Consultant in the field of children's rights; & former Children and Young People’s Commissioner (Scotland)

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What drew you to the conference initially and did the event meet your needs? I had attended before and the agenda fitted with what I am doing.

Sally Spence - Eildon Housing Association,
Delegate at ACES 2016