Number of school leavers staying in education rises slightly

A slight rise in the number of Scottish pupils going on to 'positive destinations' when they leave school has been welcomed by ministers.

Pupils from Bo'ness Academy celebrate their Higher exam results in 2016. A record number of school leavers are now going on to further education. Picture: Michael Gillen

Official figures show that 93.3 per cent of school leavers in 2015/16 were in further education, training or work three months after finishing high school - a rise from 93 per cent in the previous year.

Those in training, rather than further education or work, declined from 3.8 per cent to 2.6 per cent in the same period.

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The statistics reveal a record 40.3 per cent of all school leavers went directly into higher education after leaving school in 2015/16, up from 37.8 per cent in 2011/12.

The Scottish Government data tracked the path of 52,249 pupils in S4 to S6 attending council-run or grant aided secondary schools.

Minister for higher education Shirley-Anne Somerville said a record proportion of young people from the most deprived communities were now continuing education, entering training, or getting a job after they leave school.

She added: “Last year, a record proportion of our young people went on to a positive destination after leaving school, whether that is continuing their education, additional training or going into employment.

“It is especially encouraging to note that the proportion of school leavers in our most deprived areas going on to a positive destination is at a record high. We clearly have a lot more work to do, but the figures demonstrate that the range of actions we are taking to address this issue is beginning to bear fruit.

“I am also pleased to note that the proportion of school leavers going directly into higher education has reached its highest ever level. Again, there is more to do on widening access, but that is why we are taking forward the actions recommended by the Commission on Widening Access, including the appointment of the Fair Access Commissioner who will drive the agenda in this area.