School leaver destinations and personal skills development: consultation analysis

Analysis of consultation on the proposal to record all school leavers undertaking personal skills development as being in a positive destination in a new category in school leaver destination statistics.

Annex A – PSD Consultation Proposal

Proposed change: Record all school leavers undertaking Personal Skills Development as being in a positive destination in a new category.

Impact on headline statistics: The proportion of school leavers counted as being in a positive destination would increase by around 0.2 percentage points per year (estimate, based on historic data).

Background and rationale for change

Personal Skills Development (PSD) includes a wide range of what will often be short-term learning and development combined with appropriate personalised support for young people not yet ready, or in the position (for any number of valid reasons) to participate in school, further education, higher education, training or employment.

Young people participating in Personal Skills Development (PSD) are currently mapped to a destination category in school leaver destination statistics based on details of the activity recorded on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) shared dataset. Depending on the evidence they may be recorded in a positive destination or in an unemployed destination. This requires a judgement to be made by SDS and SG staff based on detailed consideration of specific cases and differs from the approach taken in the Annual Participation Measure reported by Skills Development Scotland, which reports all PSD activity as participating.

The table below shows the number of school leavers undertaking PSD as per the over-arching category under which they were presented within the school leaver follow-up destination publication.

Table: Number of school leavers with a follow-up destination as Personal Skills Development and the category they are placed in the follow-up destinations publication, 2012/13 to 2017/18

Destination 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Positive Destination (HE/FE/Training/Emp/Voluntary work/AAs) 79 100 130 116 114 78
Other Destination (Unemployed seeking/Not seeking) 70 40 69 97 117 92
All 149 140 199 213 231 170

Some users have expressed concerns that school leavers from special units within mainstream schools, specifically those with severe and complex needs, are not categorised as being in a positive destination. Concern has been expressed regarding a perception that this has meant that staff and young people have not been given credit for their efforts.

National Statistics destination categories should not be used to judge success or otherwise of individual young persons' efforts, nor of the staff working with these young people. However, we have been giving consideration as to how PSD is presented in the statistics.

Proposed change and impact on statistics

Our proposal is to introduce a new Personal Skills Development leaver destination category within positive destinations and to count all school leavers engaged in PSD activity within it.

If implemented, we estimate that this change would increase the proportion of school leavers counted as being in a positive destination by around 0.2 percentage points per year, based on historic data. This is illustrated in the table below (note that the table suggests a 0.1 percentage point change – this is due to rounding).

There would also be associated changes to some categories within the positive destinations group. For example, those undertaking PSD activity who were previously recorded in the Further Education category would be removed from this category.

The time series would be revised to reflect these changes.

Table: Illustration of 2017/18 school leaver follow up destinations based on existing and proposed new destination categories

Current Approach Proposed New Approach
Destination Category 2017/18 Destination Category 2017/18
Higher Education 39.0 Higher Education 39.0
Further Education 22.7 Further Education 22.6
Training 1.7 Training 1.6
Employment 28.3 Employment 28.3
Voluntary Work 0.6 Voluntary Work 0.6
Activity Agreement 0.9 Activity Agreement 0.9
Personal Skills Development 0.3
Positive Destinations 93.2 Positive Destinations 93.3
Unemployed Seeking 3.9 Unemployed Seeking 3.8
Unemployed Not Seeking 1.9 Unemployed Not Seeking 1.8
Unknown 1.1 Unknown 1.1
Other Destinations 6.8 Other Destinations 6.7

National Statistics on the initial and follow-up destinations of school leavers are published routinely, in February and June respectively, each year.

We are proposing a change to these statistics which, if agreed, will be implemented for the February 2020 publication associated with 2018/19 school leavers. The proposed change is based on stakeholder feedback around how school leavers participating in Personal Skills Development are recorded within the school leaver destination statistics.



Back to top