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Summary: Age and Children & Families

Playing ChildrenSummary: Age and Children and Families

  • In June 2014 there were 1,031,761 children (under 18 years old) in Scotland. Of this, 227,497 children were aged 0-3 years and 528,254 children were aged 0-8 years.

Source: National Records of Scotland

  • At 31 July 2015, there were 15,404 looked after children – a decrease of 196 (or one per cent) from 2014. This is the third consecutive year the numbers have decreased following a peak of 16,248 in 2012; the numbers leaving care each year have been consistently more than number starting.
  • There were 4,198 children who started to be looked after during 1 August 2014 and 31 July 2015 – the lowest figure since 2005. Table 1.3 shows a two per cent decrease from 2014 (4,295) and a 14 per cent decrease from 2010 (4,859).Over the last 10 years children have started to be looked after at younger ages. In 2005, 29 per cent of children starting to be looked after were aged under five. By 2016 this had risen to 38 per cent. The figures have been broadly steady since 2011. A large proportion of this group are the under-one year olds, and the numbers in this youngest group have almost doubled since 2005, but are also mostly static since 2011. There was a corresponding decrease in the proportion of children aged 12+ being looked after (those aged 5-11 remained flat).

  • The number of young people in secure care accommodation on 31 July 2015 was 88. Following a three year decrease from 2009-10, this has increased in the last three years, most recently by four per cent.  Just under 40% were aged 16 years and over.

  • The number of children on the child protection register has fluctuated regularly, but there is a general upwards trend. The total has increased by 33 per cent between 2000 and 2016 (from 2,050 to 2,723). The number of children registered in 2016 is below 2014's historic high; it has fallen 4 per cent since last year.

Sources: Scottish Government, Children's Social Work Statistics publication

  • Looked after children tend to have lower levels of educational attainment than non-looked after children. These differences are, in part, linked to the fact that looked after children tend to leave school at younger ages. In 2014/15 almost three quarters (73 per cent) of looked after school leavers were aged 16 and under (i.e. they left school at the earliest point they could) compared to over one quarter (27 per cent) of school leavers more generally. The proportion of leavers who were aged 16 and under has improved since 2009/10, including among looked after leavers, but discrepancies between looked after leavers and other leavers remain consistent.


Source: Scottish Government, Education outcomes for Scotland's looked after children

  • There were 96,961 local authority funded early learning and childcare (ELC) child registrations at September 2015. Eligible children are estimated from mid-year population estimates. As children may be counted more than once if they are registered to receive local authority funded ELC at more than one centre this figure will overestimate true uptake.

Source: Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland

Useful Links

Age page

Children and Families page

National Performance framework

National Performance Framework

Fifty National Indicators enable progress towards the achievement of the National Outcomes and ultimately the delivery of the Purpose to be tracked.

Indicators are chosen to show how the Scottish Government are progressing on the range of Outcomes. Equality breakdowns illustrate how protected groups are progressing towards achievement of the National Outcomes, particularly ‘we have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society’.

National Indicator number 17: Increase the proportion of healthy weight children, data tables

- progress against this National Indicator, broken down by Age, can be found under the 'What more do we know about the National indicator?' heading.

Publications and Outputs

Future Developments

Future Developments

Data on Child Protection

Individual level data over time is available from 2012/13 and will allow for greater analysis of the data.

See http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/SurveyChildProtection for further information.

Data on Children Looked After

Education outcomes was published for the sixth time in June 2016.  The publication links school and social work data to present information on the attainment, post-school destinations of looked after young people who leave school, and the school attendance and exclusion rates of all looked after children.


External Links