New report on the poverty-related attainment gap

Date: 12th February 2021
Category: Child poverty

Drawing shows children jumping to reach their rights which are shown as clouds in the sky.

The report considers new evidence examined by The Poverty Alliance on behalf of The Robertson Trust, on the links between poverty, education and work pathways for young people in Scotland and across the UK.

The review reports that the poverty-related attainment gap, which has already been identified as a key priority by the Scottish Government, shows signs of increasing further due to the impact of COVID-19.

The review shows that in 2018-19:

  • Infants, aged 27-30 months, living in deprived areas were 16% more likely to display development concerns
  • Just over two in five young people living in the most deprived areas were achieving one Higher when leaving school, compared to four in five young people living in the least deprived areas
  • These inequalities continued into post-school work pathways and were demonstrated in the fact that one in 10 school leavers from the most deprived areas in Scotland were unemployed nine months after the end of the school year, compared to 2.6% of school leavers living in the least deprived areas

The review has highlighted COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on single-parent and low-income households as well as the negative impact on the educational outcomes for children and young people living in deprived areas. This has been driven by the digital divide and lack of access to educational resources.

It highlights that initiatives seeking to reduce the attainment gap should put reducing financial barriers at their centre. Further, programmes like one-on-one tutoring, mentoring and careers education, which are currently lacking in Scotland, should be targeted at young people living in more deprived areas.

  • Download the report here.