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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07102: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 9 February 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the report, Global Gaps by the Sutton Trust, which suggests that the mathematics gap between the highest performing children from advantaged and disadvantaged homes is around two years and eight months of schooling, for what reason it has not closed this gap.

Answered by: John Swinney 24 February 2017

The Scottish Government welcomes the Global Gaps report which adds to our understanding of some of the challenges we want to address in our determination to raise attainment for all and close the attainment gap in our education outcomes.

Curriculum for Excellence provides the flexibility needed to support children from any background with varying levels of need and ability and our Scottish Attainment Challenge sets a clear expectation that all children from disadvantaged homes will be supported to reach their full potential. Numeracy and Mathematics is one of the four priority areas identified by the Challenge. Closing the poverty related attainment gap is the priority of the Scottish Government and we have committed £750 million of funding through the Scottish Attainment Challenge over the course of this Parliament with the aim of addressing the matters that the report highlights.

In supporting mathematics in the curriculum, a comprehensive range of teacher support materials for numeracy and mathematics have been made available from Education Scotland. These include the online and interactive National Numeracy and Mathematics Hub, a network of local authority numeracy ‘champions’ and the Read, Write, Count campaign, supporting home learning for children in Primary 1 to Primary 3 with their literacy and numeracy learning. The Making Maths Count programme seeks to boost mathematics achievement in Scotland. We will be working closely with partners to take forward the recommendations from the Making Maths Count report on raising levels of maths confidence and skills in Scotland.