More than £250 million of funding has been allocated to schools to help close the poverty-related attainment gap during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) is paid directly to school head teachers from the Scottish Government to help boost learning among disadvantaged pupils.
Although normally only set for one year, the new allocations have been confirmed for two years to provide more certainty for school heads while classrooms remain closed across the country.
Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney praised the work of local authorities and teachers as learning continues away from schools in pupils’ homes.
He said: “Closing the poverty-related attainment gap is the defining mission of this Government and that commitment will remain when we gradually exit lockdown.
“Local authorities and teachers have shown extraordinary dedication and professionalism to support young people and ensure learning is disrupted as little as possible, using flexibility to redirect PEF and wider Attainment Scotland Funding resources and support to our most disadvantaged families.
“There are countless examples of this, such as providing tablets to support digital learning at home and transport to enable learners to attend hubs and supporting home-school link workers to maintain regular contact with children.
“Schools know their learners best and, in providing PEF for two years, we are giving head teachers clarity to assist them in their planning and decision making, in the short and longer term.”
Allocations have been set for the 32 local authorities despite the 2020-21 Scottish budget only accounting for one year of PEF totalling £120 million – the same available as the 2019-20 academic year.
Head teachers spent more than £132 million during 2018/19, 78% of the total available, with the remaining cash being carried forward.
Scottish Government analysis also previously indicated just 60% was spent in 2017-18 when PEF was first introduced.