Record 95.5% of school leavers in positive destinations

Almost half of pupils go on to higher education.

A record 95.5% of pupils were in a ‘positive destination’ including work, training or further study within three months of leaving school last year.

Latest figures also show 45.1% of school leavers went on to higher education courses at college or university - the highest since records began in 2009-10.

The gap between those from the most and least deprived communities achieving a positive destination was the lowest since 2009-10.

The statistics show that for National Qualifications:

  • 87.7% of school leavers achieved at least one pass at SCQF Level 5 (eg National 5) or better – up from 85.7% in 2019-20 and 77.1% in 2009-10
  • 66% achieved at least one pass at SCQF Level 6 (eg Higher) or better - up from 63.9% in 2019-20 and 50.4% in 2009-10
  • the gap narrowed between the proportion of pupils from the most and least deprived areas leaving school with at least one pass at SCQF Levels 4, 5 and 6 or better
  • the proportion of school leavers achieving vocational awards to support them into the workplace continued to increase

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, 95.5% of pupils were in positive destinations three months after leaving school. This reflects the resilience and hard work of our young people and all who have supported them during the past two turbulent years.

“The narrowing of the poverty-related attainment gap shown by the figures is also very welcome. So, too, is the increase in the proportion of pupils gaining vocational qualifications and in those going on to higher education in college and university.

“It is important, though, to view the statistics against the backdrop of COVID-19. Exams had to be cancelled for two years and National Qualifications were awarded using different methods. The pandemic will also have affected the choices made by some school leavers and the opportunities available to them.

“Our focus remains on ensuring that all children and young people, regardless of their background, have the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential in school and beyond.”


Summary Statistics for Attainment and Initial Leaver Destinations


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