Statistics on school leaver attainment, destinations and healthy living

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published ‘Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living No.6: 2016 Edition’ and ‘Educational Outcomes for Scotland’s Looked After Children 2014/15’.

The results show that 92.0 per cent of 2014/15 school leavers were in a positive destination in March 2016, up from 91.7 per cent of 2013/14 school leavers in March 2015.

The percentage of school leavers attaining a qualification at SCQF level 6 or 7 (Higher or above) has increased each year, from 52.3 per cent for 2010/11 school leavers to 60.2 per cent for 2014/15. The percentage of school leavers from more deprived areas attaining a qualification at SCQF level 6 or better has also increased over this period, reaching 41.2 per cent for 2014/15 school leavers. The percentage of pupils leaving with no qualifications at SCQF level 3 or above remains low, at 2.1 per cent (a slight increase from 1.7 per cent for 2013/14).

Looked after school leavers continue to have lower levels of attainment and there are lower proportions in positive post-school destinations than school leavers generally, but this gap has narrowed since 2009/10.

Looked after children continue to experience higher rates of exclusions than the general school population, although the rate has fallen steadily since 2009/10. School attendance rates among looked after children have also improved since 2009/10, although they continue to be lower than the general school population.

From January 2015 eligibility to free school meals was extended to all pupils in primary 1 to 3. The percentage of pupils on survey day who took a school meal (free or paid for) increased from 56.5 per cent in 2015 to 58.1 per cent in 2016. This increase was largely due to the increase in proportion of P1-P3 pupils taking a free school meal, with 81.7 per cent of P1-P3 pupils taking a meal (up from 78.9 per cent in 2015).

The proportion of all schools meeting the Physical Education (PE) target of at least two hours in primary and two periods (100 minutes) at secondary school was the same as in February 2015 (98 per cent). The proportion of primary schools meeting the target remained the same as in 2015 (99 per cent) and the proportion of secondary schools meeting the target increased from 93 per cent in 2015 to 95 per cent in 2016.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

These statistics are sourced from ‘Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living No.6: 2016 Edition’ and ‘Educational Outcomes for Scotland’s Looked After Children 2014/15’. Both publications use the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) post-review results and leaver destination data from Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) School Leaver Destination Survey. Leavers are contacted in the October after they leave school (initial) and again the following March (follow-up). The figures in this news release refer to the follow-up information.

Information on the PE target and school meals is from the latest Healthy Living Survey conducted in February 2016. This information is collected at school level. 2015 figures on uptake of free school meals were amended in June 2016 after a processing error was discovered affecting data from nine schools in one local authority.

Attainment and leaver destination statistics were updated last year following methodological changes and changes to data availability. Data for 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 leaver cohorts were updated last year, and data for 2009/10 and 2010/11 cohorts have now also been produced on a consistent basis. These figures supersede previously published figures for these years.

Previously published figures for 2013/14 have been revised in line with the new cohort year definition. The leaver year is now aligned with the timing of the annual pupil census – i.e. third Wednesday in September to third Tuesday in September (was previously 1st August to 31st July).

Current leavers will have taken a range of qualifications, some may have taken the new National qualifications introduced in the 2013/14 academic year, but the majority will have taken the qualifications currently being phased out. Only 2013/14 S4 leavers and 2014/15 S4 and S5 leavers may have experienced CfE throughout their whole school education.

The National Statistics publication ‘Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living No.6: 2016 Edition’ is available at

Further school statistics are available within the School Education section of the Scottish Government website:

The Official Statistics publication ‘Educational Outcomes for Scotland’s Looked After Children 2014/15’ is available at

Further information on Children and Families statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:

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