Gap in numeracy results between most and least deprived demands action

Ross Greer, Education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for the West of Scotland, today urged ministers to target investment as the latest Scottish Numeracy Survey showed a growing gap in performance between the least and most deprived pupils.

The survey suggests that between 2011 and 2015 the performance gap between the least and most deprived pupils increased at P4, and across P4, P7 and S2 there remains a "stepped pattern" where performance improves as level of deprivation declines. There is a 21-point difference in attainment between the most and least deprived P4 pupils, a 23-point difference in P7, and a 28-point difference in S2.

Overall in P4, only 66 per cent pupils performed well or very well in numeracy in 2015, down from 69 per cent in 2013, and 76 per cent in 2011. 

Ross Greer MSP said:

"This latest survey shows the new Education Secretary must get to grips with the inequality that is becoming embedded in our society. To see gaps of between 21 and 28 points in numeracy results between the most and least deprived young people is deeply worrying, and demands urgent action both inside and outside our school system.

"Rather than pursuing national testing, the Scottish Government should be making its priorities in our schools the recruitment and retention of staff and the reduction of staff workload. Ministers must also accept that budget cuts to local authorities have resulted in Additional Support Needs being squeezed, which disproportionately affects children from less well-off backgrounds. 

"Supporting teachers to create stimulating learning environments is essential, as numeracy is a vital skill that equips young people for the challenges of adult life. There must also be an external focus in areas of deprivation to improve housing, jobs and social opportunities."


Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy 2015 (Numeracy)