Blog April 2023

An update on our Education Pathways theme

DonnaMarie Steel, our Programmes and Practice Officer, reflects on our work so far within our Education Pathways theme and provides an update on our upcoming work in this area to tackle poverty and trauma.

Our Education Pathways theme aims to shape an education system that maximises its contribution to wellbeing, to spotting and addressing trauma and to tackling poverty in Scotland. We’re now looking to take our next steps for how we deliver long-term change to education in Scotland and we’d love your help as we begin to decide where we can have the greatest impact.  

Throughout 2021-22, the Robertson Trust undertook significant work to understand where we as an independent funder could add the most value to tackling poverty and trauma through education in Scotland. We brought together groups of our grantholders to listen to their views, we undertook work with experts and we commissioned The Poverty Alliance in 2021 to produce a report on the poverty-related attainment gap in Scotland.  

One of the clear findings from this work was the potential for mentoring and tutoring to transform the lives of young people in poverty in Scotland. The report examined evidence from Scotland, the UK and beyond on the effectiveness of mentoring and tutoring approaches and made a number of recommendations for future action. This shaped our priorities for 2022 and led to us approving three education projects through our programme awards:  

  • intandem: £450k to enable the expansion of mentoring to young people living in Kinship Care  
  • Borders College: £90k towards the costs of Borders Young Talent Mentoring programme  
  • Forth Valley College: £75k towards the costs of the Time4Me widening access and mentoring programme  

Over the last 12 months, we have worked hard to understand the impact we could have beyond mentoring and tutoring and how we can best contribute to big change that lasts in education in Scotland. We have now narrowed our focus to explore the following four areas over the next few years:  

  • Driving greater impact of attainment gap spending in Scotland  
  • Improving engagement in learning and education, particularly following Covid-19  
  • Strengthening school age childcare provision and policy  
  • Supporting progress on Scotland’s 2030 fair access targets within higher education 

We now want to bring together organisations with direct experience and expertise on these priority areas to help to shape our work to fund, support and influence through tailored workshops, events and conversations. We are also interested in working alongside people who have lived experience and an understanding of our work too.  We believe that by developing meaningful participation with those who have lived experience relevant to our work, we can make an important contribution to improving the wellbeing of people not only in what we fund but also in how we fund. 

Contact Us

If you have an interest in the priority areas above and think you could help us to shape our work to fund, support and influence then we want to hear from you.

We want to hear your ideas and how you would approach our work in this area so that we can deliver long-term change in education that delivers big change that lasts on poverty and trauma.

Please get in touch with our Education Pathways lead, DonnaMarie Steel, at or if you’d like to keep up to date just sign up to our mailing list or follow our social channels to stay up to date with upcoming opportunities to be involved in our education-related work.