More pupils choose to carry on learning after school

The number of school leavers choosing to continue their studies has increased, according to new figures.

The rate of those entering further or higher education was up by 6.5 per cent compared with 12 months ago, the survey in March showed.

Of the estimated 53,000 school leavers surveyed, 58 per cent chose to stay in education, although the number of them finding a job fell by nearly 6 per cent.

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The Scottish Government statistics offer insight into the fortunes of young people nine months after leaving school in 2008-9 and contrasts the experience of school leavers from 12 months earlier.

The proportion of those in employment fell from 28.5 per cent to 22.9 per cent but the rate of unemployed, those either seeking or not seeking employment or training, fell by 1 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

The rate of school leavers entering training dropped by just under 1 per cent, although the overall rate of people in so-called positive destinations, like higher education, work or training, was up 1 per cent to 85 per cent.

Skills minister Keith Brown said record levels of young people were choosing to continue their education.

He said: "Recession hits young people hard and these figures show that record levels of pupils are staying at school or going straight into college or university.

"The full effect of the economic climate will be even clearer this summer as the same record levels of pupils and students leave school or college."

Mr Brown was speaking at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh where he met young people on sports management apprenticeships with Scottish Rugby.

He said: "It is extremely encouraging to see that the support we are providing young people is helping them to find positive destinations that are right for them whether that is university, college, a job or modern apprenticeship."

Mr Brown recently launched the government's 6.5 million Step Forward Scotland programme which gives money to firms who want to train young people.