NEW data released by the Scottish Government shows Scottish students are performing better in literacy and numeracy across all levels compared to last year.

The official Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels (ACEL) in numeracy and literacy uses teacher judgement to report the percentages of P1, P4, P7 and S3 pupils who are reaching Curriculum for Excellence targets for their grade level.

The latest report shows attainment levels across all primary levels and S3 have increased since 2021/22.

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As well as this, the Scottish Government has said the gap between the proportion of primary pupils from the most and least deprived areas achieving expected levels in literacy has decreased to the lowest on record.

Overall, the statistics show:

  • For numeracy, a total of 79.6% of pupils reached the levels expected in 2022/23, a rise of 0.5 percentage points compared to the previous high of 79.1% in 2018/19
  • For literacy, a rise to 72.7%, up on the previous high of 72.3% in 2018/19

Primary teachers reported record attainment in numeracy since ACEL was first collected in 2016 with 80% of primary students performing at the expected level, compared to 78% last year and 79% pre-pandemic.

Secondary pupils also matched their highest achievement since 2016, with teachers reporting that 90% are performing at the expected level.

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Commenting on the statistics, Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth (below) said: “These figures show record levels of attainment across primary school level and significant improvements in secondary.

The National:

“I congratulate our pupils and teachers for their hard work over the last year. These findings are the most up to date statistics on attainment and are comprehensive across all publicly funded schools in Scotland, demonstrating a clear rise in standards above pre-pandemic levels among primary school pupils.

“Along with this year’s SQA results, they point to widespread rises in attainment.

“I recognise that there is no room for complacency and our programme of reform across the education and skills system will help identify where further improvements can be made and will look to drive enhanced attainment to ensure all young people meet their full potential.”

However, the Scottish LibDems education spokesperson Willie Rennie (below) said the statistics showed the Scottish Government has made “virtually no progress” on closing the attainment gap.

The National: Willie Rennie

“Seven years on from Nicola Sturgeon’s defining mission on education there is virtually no progress to show for it,” he said.

“Scottish education has slipped down the international rankings after recording its worst ever scores and the poverty-related attainment gap is massive.

“The poverty-related attainment gap may have now returned to 2018/19 levels but that leaves the Scottish Government miles away from closing it by 2026, either completely or substantially.

“The SNP seem to have no clue why the gap isn’t closing and why performance overall has slipped.

“Their reform agenda has stalled so they now seem to have no clue about how to improve the performance of Scottish education. The responsibility on the Education Secretary to fill this vacuum is huge.”