Headteachers empowered

A teacher at work

More than £132 million of targeted funding was spent last year by headteachers to help close the poverty related attainment gap.

The Scottish Government’s Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) scheme puts money directly into the hands of headteachers, allowing them to decide how best to use it to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

Headteachers spent 78% of almost £170 million PEF which was available last year. This was made up of £122.2 million allocated for 2018-19 alongside a carry-over of £47.6 million from 2017-18. This puts Scotland on track to meet the pledge of £750 million invested over the life of this Parliament.

The total invested last year is a significant increase on the 60% of PEF used by headteachers in 2017-18. The news has been welcomed by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

He said:

“Every child deserves to grow up knowing there are no limits to what they can achieve. Empowered teachers, given the right resources and appropriate support, are making a massive difference in our classrooms and are transforming lives. 

“Closing the attainment gap will take time but we also know that what we are doing is having a tangible effect.

“The increase in Pupil Equity Funding investment by headteachers shows that our measures to empower teachers are working. Too often we hear the accusation that Scottish education lacks creativity and innovation. PEF proves that argument entirely wrong.”


Cumulatively, over 2017/18 and 2018/19, £204.806m (84%) of the £242.466m allocated PEF has been spent with £37.660m carried forward for next year.

Figures showing 2018/19 Pupil Equity Funding levels of spend, at both Local Authority and School level, are available online

The Scottish Government published the ‘Attainment Scotland Fund evaluation: interim report (year 3)’ report on 21 June 2019:

it found 88% of headteachers reported improvements in closing the poverty- related attainment gap as a result of interventions supported by the Attainment Scotland Fund and 95% expect to see improvements over the next five years

there is clear evidence that teachers and schools value the autonomy provided to them through Pupil Equity Funding. 89% of headteachers felt they had the autonomy to develop a plan for PEF

support from local authorities and Attainment Advisors continues to be valued highly by schools 71% of headteachers felt there had been an increase in collaboration as a result of the Attainment funding

The latest stories