Poverty gap closing

Attainment improving, education spend increasing.

The gap between pupils from the most and least deprived areas who go on to university, college or a job after school has closed by over a fifth in one year, new figures show.

The proportion of 2016/17 school leavers from the most deprived areas in a positive destination nine months after leaving school increased to 87.6% – reducing the gap with school leavers from the least deprived areas by 22%.

It comes as a suite of new statistics published today also show:

  • Improved attainment by children in literacy and numeracy over the last four years
  • A record proportion of young people leaving school with an Advanced Higher pass
  • A narrowing of the attainment gap between looked after children and all school leavers
  • A 3.2% increase in local authority spending on education in 2017-18 and planned to rise by 3.8% in 2018-19

The Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said:

“These figures are indicative of a high performing education system, which is testament to the efforts of our teachers, our school staff and our education leaders to give every child the opportunity to fulfil their full potential in life.

“Already the action of this Government is delivering real improvement in our schools, and implementation of reforms to empower schools and school leaders will accelerate this.

“I’m particularly pleased to see an increasing proportion of looked after children leaving school with at least a Higher or equivalent, but clearly the gap is still too wide.

“The findings of the independent Care Review and this Government’s £750 million investment through the Scottish Attainment Challenge will, I believe, see us make even more progress in closing the poverty-related attainment gap in years to come.”


The latest Summary Statistics for Attainment, Leaver Destinations and Healthy Living: 2018 Edition show:

  • A record 92.9% of young people in a positive destination nine months after leaving school – up from 91.4% for 2015/16
  • A record 38.3% of school leavers in higher education nine months after leaving school
  • A record 19.3% of school leavers with an Advanced Higher pass – up from 17.6% in 2012/13
  • A record 29.9% of school leavers with 5 or more passes at SCQF Level 6 (Higher or equivalent) – up from 22.2% in 2009/10
  • Fewer unemployed school leavers than ever before

The latest Education Outcomes for Looked After Children 2016/17 publication shows:

  • The percentage of looked after children achieving at least SCQF Level 5 (National 5 or equivalent) has increased from 15% in 2009/10 to 44% in 2016/17
  • The gap in attainment between children looked after for the full year and all school leavers has narrowed from 62 percentage points in 2009/10 to 42 percentage points in 2016/17

The latest Local Authority Provisional Outturn (2017-18) and Budget Estimates (2018-19) show:

  • Local authority spending on education in 2017/18 is 3.2% higher than 2016/17. Local authority education budgets for 2018-19 are 3.8% higher than the budgets they set for 2017/18


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