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Educational Attainment

Our ambition is to enable Scotland's children to arrive at the school gates ready to learn. We will achieve this by helping parents build strong and healthy relationships with their children which will in turn increase their educational attainment and life chances. Martin Crewe, Director, Barnardo's Scotland

Closing the attainment gap for children from disadvantaged families and communities requires a partnership approach and intensive support.

This support needs to take place:

  • Before children get to school
  • In the nursery
  • During the transition from nursery to primary school
  • In primary school
  • In the early stages of secondary school

We call this the Continuum of Support for Better Attainment:


Our work

To close the educational attainment gap, Barnardo's Scotland focus on promoting secure attachment, promoting recovery from toxic stress (trauma) and building resilient communities working across Scotland. We do this by working in partnership with parents, nurseries, primary and secondary schools, using a model based on this continuum. Read more here.

To discuss commissioning work, please contact Assistant Director Attainment Maureen McAteer at

More information

Closing the poverty related attainment gap: early learning from our partnership work with schools and communities across Scotland (PDF) May 2019

What happens in a PATHS® school? Examples from Glasgow (PDF) February 2019

Barnardo's Scotland submission to Education and Skills Committee – Inquiry into the attainment and achievement of school aged children experiencing poverty (PDF) April 2018

Barnardo's Scotland responce to Empowering Schools: A consultation on the provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill (PDF) January 2018

Barnardo's Scotland response to Scottish Government: National Improvement Framework consultation on measuring the attainment gap and milestones towards closing it (PDF) November 2017

Barnardo's Scotland response to Scottish Government consultation on the expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland (PDF) January 2017

Barnardo's Scotland response to Scottish Government consultation on the Educational Governance review (PDF) January 2017

Barnardo's Scotland briefing for Scottish Government debate on the expansion of early learning and childcare (PDF) September 2016

Barnardo's Scotland written evidence for the Education and Culture Committee - Stage One Education (Scotland) Bill (PDF) May 2015

Barnardo's Scotland evidence to Education and Culture Committee's inquiry into Educational Attainment Gap (PDF) March 2015

Responses and briefings prior to 2015 can be found here

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