Scottish Government
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Tackling attainment gap is top priority

DFM responds to publication of school numeracy survey.

The Scottish Government will continue to drive action to improve attainment in Scotland’s schools, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said today.

Speaking during a visit to Dens Road Primary School in Dundee following the publication of the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) 2015, Mr Swinney said:

“Today’s statistics reinforce the need to improve attainment and to close the gap between the performance of young people from different backgrounds in Scotland’s schools.

“We have much to do to ensure our young people are supported to improve their understanding and use of numeracy and our teachers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and confidence to drive up standards in this area.

“We have introduced several measures since numeracy statistics were last published in 2014 as part of our firm commitment to address the attainment gap.

“Chief among the fresh measures has been the introduction this year of a National Improvement Framework, which will see new standardised assessments give detailed information to teachers on every child to show what is working and what needs attention.

“We have increased our investment in the Attainment Scotland Fund to £750 million over the next five years. This will support schools, communities and local authorities in areas of socio-economic need through the Scottish Attainment Challenge. Our Read Write Count campaign encourages parents to improve their children’s learning, and our Making Maths Count group is promoting maths as a valuable skill.

“We’ve also introduced a National Numeracy and Mathematics resource online for teachers, and introduced numeracy champions in each local authority area.

“Last week the First Minister confirmed we will host a major summit on school education and bring forward a delivery plan to improve Scottish education. I have also announced a series of actions to address teacher workloads and remain committed to taking further measures to tackle this issue. All of this will support our priority ambition to raise attainment and drive forward improvements in our schools. 

“Today’s numeracy survey was conducted in 2015 and does not measure the impact of the more recent actions we have taken. But it does show that the majority of pupils across all stages enjoy working with numbers, building on the OECD’s findings that in Scotland, ‘learners are enthusiastic and motivated, teachers are engaged and professional and system leaders are highly committed’.

“I am determined to capitalise on this through continued robust action to ensure that every child in Scotland has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Notes To Editors

The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) is an annual sample survey which monitors national performance in literacy and numeracy in alternate years, for school pupils at P4, P7 and S2. About 10,500 pupils and 2,200 schools took part in the survey in 2015.

A statistical news release about the SSLN was published today at:

The full statistical publication is available at:

Mr Swinney was visiting Dens Road Primary School in Dundee, a Scottish Attainment Challenge school whose pupils and teachers participated in the SSLN 2015. While there he spoke to pupils in a P4 maths class and had a private discussion with teachers.

The OECD was commissioned in 2015 to carry out a review of Scotland’s education system. Their report, ‘Improving Schools in Scotland: An OECD Perspective’ is available at:


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