More tutoring and mentoring of pupils should be used in Scotland to help close the attainment gap, a study says.
Research by the Poverty Alliance found free tutoring provision for children and young people in Scotland was “sparse”.
The report, released on Wednesday, said high-quality tutoring could significantly reduce educational inequalities.
In February the Scottish Government announced a £45 million fund for educational recovery, however the report said there was no published information on how much of this went towards catch-up tutoring programmes.
The Poverty Alliance’s research also found there were geographical gaps in the provision of mentoring for children in poverty.
Dr Laura Robertson, lead author of the report, said: “The Scottish Government has put tackling the poverty-based attainment gap at the heart of its agenda. However, inequalities in education attainment remain stark.
“Covid-19 has not only tightened the grip of poverty on the lives of many children and young people, but has also exacerbated these inequalities.
“Now, more than ever, children and young people need access to additional support.
“This report reveals that – despite the evidence that it works – young people living in poverty still don’t have equal access to high-quality tutoring free of charge.
“In a just society, all children and young people should have access to support that allows them to reach their potential, so the Scottish Government must – if it wants to end the attainment gap – respond with action.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “As part of schools’ action to tackle the attainment gap, mentoring and tutoring support is an option for those who need it where teachers and school leaders identify the need.
“As part of Scottish Government funding, including the enhanced £147m of Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) this year, which includes an additional £20m PEF Premium payment, they have the ability to fund new initiatives to support disadvantaged pupils, including increased mentoring and tutoring, recognising the new and additional challenges schools and their children and young people face as a result of Covid-19.
“Almost £500 million of additional funding has been committed during 2020/21 and 2021/22 as part of education recovery and our wider education investment programme ensures we have the highest spending per pupil anywhere in the UK.
“This is delivering teacher numbers at their highest since 2008, class sizes falling and £1 billion over this Parliament devoted to closing the poverty-related attainment gap.”