Over the last couple of days I’ve been following tweets from the Raising Attainment for All National Learning Session 2 in Glasgow with great interest. Even from the tweets it’s clear that there is a real buzz and feeling of purpose surrounding this event. Schools and colleagues from across Scotland are sharing super stories of improvement and how they’ve been making progress and tracking it.

Inspired by the sound-bites and the enthusiasm of those in attendance, I was keen to find out more. (see http://raisingattainmentforall.co.uk/)

00459523-480‘The Raising Attainment for All Programme was launched in June 2014, the programme aims to support consistent improvement in attainment and achievement through the development of a collaborative learning system which supports the implementation of improvement methodology and enables shared learning across the country.’


The Programme has four Stretch Aims, these are:

  • Stretch Aim 1 To ensure that 85% of children with each school cluster have successfully experienced and achieved CfE second level Literacy, Numeracy, and Health and Wellbeing outcomes in preparation for Secondary School by 2016.
  • Stretch Aim 2 To ensure that 85% of children within each school cluster have successfully experienced and achieved CFE Third Level Literacy, Numeracy and Health and Wellbeing outcomes in preparation for the senior phase by 2019.
  • Stretch Aim 3 To ensure that 95% of young people within each school cluster go on to positive participation destinations on leaving school by 2018.
  • Stretch Aim 4 To provide the leadership for improvement both nationally and locally, across the Raising Attainment for All Programme.

I truly think that all of this sounds fantastic – particularly the emphasis on collaboration. (There has been too much time spent behind our respective doors, re-inventing the wheel.)

Now, I haven’t had the good fortune to be involved in this project, so know only what I can glean from online. Maybe it’s just me, and it’s entirely possible I have misunderstood the whole thing, but I have to admit to having a tiny voice asking me about the ‘stretch aims’…

If we are truly Raising Attainment for All – then why do the ‘stretch aims’ consider only 85% of the children? What about the missing 15%? Will they go to secondary school without having achieved or experienced Second Level in Literacy?

tweet about RAFAIs the stretch aim stretchy enough? Are we happy to accept that a significant percentage of our children will leave primary school with levels of literacy that will severely impede their progress and prevent them from accessing learning and literature?

Or are we all suffering from a case of fixed mindset i.e. that not everyone can achieve Second Level…

If our true intention is to close the attainment gap and ensure that Scotland is the #bestplacetogrowup and that education here is transformative for all, then surely we should also be focusing on the 15% – because that is precisely where the gap likes to live?

Answers on a postcard please… or in the comments will do… 😀

For more information on Raising Attainment for All and to access some of the presentations, click below:


Raising Attainment for All or just for 85%?

0 thoughts on “Raising Attainment for All or just for 85%?

  • March 17, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Anne Perhaps not all, but some, of the 15% will be children with additional needs for whom CfE second level would be neither achievable nor appropriate. The 85% target is by 2016. If that is achieved by 2016  then a new 'stretch aim' could be created. As a school taking part in this project I can confirm that it really is making a difference. Our focus is reading. It would be great if you could be part of a RAfA project or a speaker at a learning session.

    • March 17, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Hi Sandra, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment – and to shed a bit more light on the matter! I can see that the focus on improvement is obvioulsy making a difference for the schools and teachers involved – and that is fantastic! 😀 I really love how everyone is determined to make Scotland the best place to grow up and the best place to go to school. I suppose my worry was that the 15% was to cover children with additional needs. I truly believe that all children can be taught to read (except those with the most profound difficulties). The problem is that this work needs to begin in Primary 1 and teachers need to be supported and given access to / training on the most recent information on the most effective way to teach reading. (Which isn’t going to happen in time for learners going to secondary in 2016) There is now sufficient, compelling evidence which shows that there are schools which have effectively managed to eradicate children being diagnosed with dyslexia – even when their intake has high levels of children with the lowest socio-economic factors and English as an additional language. Despite the fact that the Scottish Government’s Literacy Action Plan specifically mentions Systematic Synthetic Phonics – this is not supported in the Curriculum for Excellence documents. I would love the opportunity to contribute in some way. I sincerely believe we should be striving to improve outcomes for 100% of our children – that is surely what Raising Attainment for All should mean, and be, about. I have written to the Scottish Government on more than one occasion regarding this. I am also presenting about this at the Reading Reform Foundation Conference in London on 28th March. So in the meantime, I will continue to spread the message through training and so on… hopefully this situation will be addressed through teacher training and CLPL soon. Sorry for the long response – I just really appreciate the interaction on the blog – that is what it is for. Thanks again – and keep up the great work – making a difference is what matters. x

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