Scotland’s independent think tank
Scotland’s independent think tank

Playing Catch-Up



The Commission on School Reform, the independent group of education experts set up by the think tank Reform Scotland, today reiterates its call for the Scottish Government to set up a catch-up programme for school pupils.

Figures published last week show that the gap in expected attainment between pupils in the most and least deprived areas has increased to its highest level since comparable data was made available, in both literacy and numeracy.

The Commission is now reiterating its call for a catch-up programme to repair the damage caused to children by lost education during the two periods of school closures and the time lost to self-isolation.

In its latest briefing paper, Playing Catch-Up, the Commission calls for:

  • A flexible system of additional support for all pupils to put in place to enable educational recovery as quickly as possible. This could involve additional time in school, homework clubs, Saturday clubs and so forth.
  • Tutor support to be made available on a generous basis, and be free for learners in receipt of free school meals.
  • Urgent steps to ensure that learning at home and/or blended learning are far more effectively supported going forward, with the free availability of far more devices and broadband connections for families who cannot afford to pay for such equipment.
  • The mechanisms and resources developed to be used to give additional support to those requiring it in the course of their normal schooling.

“These dismal attainment statistics clearly demonstrate that there has been a loss of education. We have to make up for that loss.

“Thousands of teachers have worked heroically throughout the pandemic, but there is only so much within their control. The closures, and the self-isolations, have led to a massive loss of learning. Many children will have actually gone backwards because such interruptions can lead to them forgetting what they have learnt before.

“The Scottish and UK Governments continue to spend significant sums of money on the Covid recovery. There is no better place to spend it than on educational catch-up, ensuring that our children’s educational loss is temporary, not permanent.”

Professor Lindsay Paterson, Commission on School Reform member and professor of education policy at the University of Edinburgh


Playing Catch-Up