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Academic performance is improving and the attainment gap is being reduced in schools

Posted on 13 Jun 2024


The poverty-related attainment gap for literacy and numeracy in North Ayrshire Council’s schools has been cut and more school leavers are thriving.

The latest statistics on pupils’ Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) levels were presented to Councillors at a recent Cabinet meeting. (Tuesday, June 4)  

The report covers CfE data for 2022-23 and school leavers’ data, calculated using the national benchmarking tool INSIGHT, for the same period.

Insight allows school performances to be benchmarked against the national picture as well as the “virtual comparator”, which is made up of similar pupils across Scotland.

 Key highlights include:

  • The poverty-related attainment gap for literacy improved by four per cent between 2021-22 and 2022-23 – and there was a two per cent improvement in numeracy over the same time frame.
  • North Ayrshire school leavers recorded their highest “positive destination” figure in the last five years, with 96.5 per cent going on to higher education, further education, training, voluntary work or employment.
  • At 94.9%, the percentage of S4 leavers achieving Level 3 Numeracy is the highest in the last 5 years.
  • The lowest 20 per cent of S4 school leavers have achieved the highest amount of tariff points – for Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework awards – in the last five years. This is above the virtual comparator.
  • School leavers from almost all Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) areas are exceeding the performance of school leavers from similar backgrounds nationally.

Factors linked to the Cost-of-Living Crisis and the Coronavirus pandemic have impacted young people’s decisions on when to leave school and what they will do next – and this is expected to continue for a number of years.

The Council’s Education team’s priorities include improving attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy, and also closing the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged young people.

A separate report presented to Cabinet shows that the performance of care-experienced young people, who are among the most disadvantaged learners, continues to improve.

Ther has been a “sustained improvement”, especially in literacy and numeracy – with learners in North Ayrshire performing better than their counterparts nationally.

Cabinet noted the reports, pupils’ achievements and measures being put in place to further improve attainment levels in all schools for all pupils.

For more information on how you can get help during the Cost-of-Living Crisis, please visit the Council’s website at: https://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living/


There is a handy Council online information leaflet – which you can share with friends, family and colleagues – here https://tinyurl.com/43bj33ec

 that gives information about clothing grants and free school meals, Council Tax reduction, community larders and more.