Publication - Statistics

Education outcomes for looked after children 2017-2018

Published: 18 Jun 2019
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Children and families, Education, Statistics
ISBN:
9781787818941

Information on attainment, destinations of school leavers and achievement of curriculum for excellence levels for looked after children in Scotland.

37 page PDF

835.4 kB

37 page PDF

835.4 kB

Contents
Education outcomes for looked after children 2017-2018
Educational attainment

37 page PDF

835.4 kB

Educational attainment

  • The attainment of school leavers looked after for the full year at SCQF level 5 or better has fluctuated, while those looked after for part of the year have shown an improvement in attainment over the last five years
  • Looked after leavers who were in foster care or with friends or relatives had higher attainment than looked after leavers in other placement types

This section presents data on the educational attainment of the estimated 999 young people who were looked after during the period 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018 and who left school during 2017/18. Links to the underlying data are available in the background notes.

Age of school leavers

Chart 1a: Stage of all school leavers and those who were looked after, 2017/18(1)

Chart 1a: Stage of all school leavers and those who were looked after, 2017/18

(1) Looked after children data is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities. All school leavers data is not affected.

Chart 1b: Percentage of pupils leaving school in S4 or earlier for all school leavers and those who were looked after, 2009/10 to 2017/18(1)

Chart 1b: Percentage of pupils leaving school in S4 or earlier for all school leavers and those who were looked after, 2009/10 to 2017/18

(1) Looked after children data for 2017/18 is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities. All school leavers data is not affected.

Looked after children tend to leave school at earlier stages, shown in Chart 1a. In 2017/18 44% of children looked after for the full year and 40% of those looked after for part of the year left school in S4 or earlier, compared with 11% of school leavers more generally. The proportion of looked after leavers who left school in S4 or earlier has decreased since 2012/13, however the proportion remains higher than for all school leavers (Chart 1b).

A higher proportion of young people who were looked after for part of the year left school in S6 (22%) than those looked after for the full year (14%). Many young people cease to be looked after once they turn 18 and therefore are only looked after for part of the year. The proportion of children ceasing to be looked after once they turn 18 has increased in 2017/18. This partially explains the higher proportion of children looked after for part of the year leaving school in S6, as all 18 year olds still in school will be in S6.

Highest level of qualification

Looked after children obtain lower qualification levels on average than all school leavers, which is at least partly explained by the lower school leaving age. Since 2013/14, leavers have been classified by identifying the highest Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level at which they achieved one or more passes by the time they leave school. This includes Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) attainment at SCQF levels 3 to 7.

Illustration 2 shows the equivalent qualifications over time since Standard Grades ceased to exist in 2013/14 and Intermediate qualifications ceased to exist from August 2015 and both were replaced with the new National Qualifications. The majority of current leavers will have exclusively taken the new qualifications, but some may have taken the old qualifications. It is not the purpose of this publication to measure the impact of the new system on outcomes for looked after young people.

Illustration 2: Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels

Illustration 2: Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels

Table 1.1: Percentage of looked after and all school leavers by their highest level of attainment 2017/18(1)

Looked after leavers – full year Looked after leavers – part year All school leavers
1 or more qualification at SCQF level 3 or better 86 82 98
1 or more qualification at SCQF level 4 or better 76 67 96
1 or more qualification at SCQF level 5 or better 39 36 86
1 or more qualification at SCQF level 6 or better 12 11 62
1 or more qualification at SCQF level 7 1 1 20
No passes at SCQF 3 or better 14 18 2

(1) Looked after children data is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities. All school leavers data is not affected.

The qualification levels achieved by young people who were looked after for the full year are higher than for young people looked after for part of the year at most attainment levels, as shown in Table 1.1. However, while looked after school leavers don’t achieve qualification levels as high as school leavers more generally, educational attainment among looked after leavers has improved notably over the last nine years, narrowing the gap to all school leavers, as seen in chart 2a and 2b. However, most of the improvement in attainment for looked after school leavers occurred from around 2011/12 to 2013/14 and the levels of attainment achieved have been broadly stable since then.

Almost all school leavers (96%) have at least one qualification at level 4 or better. This compares with an estimated three quarters (76%) of leavers looked after for the full year and two thirds (67%) looked after for part of the year with the same level of qualifications. At the higher levels of qualification, 62% of all leavers have at least one qualification at level 6 or better, while an estimated 12% of leavers who were looked after for the full year and 11% who were looked after for part of the year had qualifications at this level.

Charts 2a, 2b and 2c show the total qualifications held by looked after leavers and all leavers over time. The proportion of leavers looked after for the full year with no qualifications at SCQF 3 or higher has increased slightly from 12% in 2012/13 to an estimated 14% in 2017/18 (Chart 2a). For leavers looked after for part of the year, the proportion with no qualifications at SCQF level 3 or higher has fallen slightly from 19% to an estimated 18% over the same period (Chart 2b).

Leavers looked after the full year have consistently higher levels of attainment than those looked after for part of the year. However, at the higher levels of attainment (SCQF 6 or better) the difference is very small, with 12% of leavers looked after for the full year and 11% of leavers looked after for part of the year achieving this level or better.

Chart 2: Highest level of attainment of looked after leavers (full year and part year) and all school leavers, 2009/10 to 2017/18(1)

(a) Leavers looked after for the full year

Chart 2: Highest level of attainment of looked after leavers (full year and part year) and all school leavers, 2009/10 to 2017/18: (a) Leavers looked after for the full year

(1) Looked after children data for 2017/18 is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities. All school leavers data is not affected.

(b) Leavers looked after for the part of the year 

(1) Looked after children data for 2017/18 is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities. All school leavers data is not affected.

Chart 2: Highest level of attainment of looked after leavers (full year and part year) and all school leavers, 2009/10 to 2017/18: (b) Leavers looked after for the part of the year

(c) All school leavers

Chart 2: Highest level of attainment of looked after leavers (full year and part year) and all school leavers, 2009/10 to 2017/18: (c) All school leavers

Highest level of qualification by type of accommodation

When a young person is looked after, there are various types of care setting. Placements can be at home (where a child is subject to a Supervision Requirement and continues to live in their usual place of residence), foster care, kinship care (where they are living with friends or relatives) or residential care. Table 1.2 presents the attainment level of leavers looked after for the full year by the type of placement.

Educational attainment varies across the types of accommodation in which looked after children are living. School leavers in foster care provided and purchased by the local authority performed better than those in other care settings, with 68% and 61% achieving at level 5 or better respectively, compared with 39% of all leavers looked after for the full year.

School leavers looked after for the full year in other residential settings, including residential schools, secure care accommodation and crisis care, had the lowest overall levels of attainment, with 65% achieving at least one qualification at SCQF level 3 or better, compared with 86% for all leavers looked after for the full year. School leavers who were looked after at home with parents also had low levels of attainment compared with most other placement types.

Table 1.2: Highest level of attainment of school leavers looked after for the full year, by placement type, 2017/18(1)(4)

  Looked after leavers
% No passes at SCQF 3 or better % with 1 or more qualification at SCQF
Level 3 or better Level 4 or better Level 5 or better Level 6 or better Level 7 or better
In the community (children with one placement)
    At home with parents 27 73 49 14 * *
    With friends or relatives 13 87 77 38 13 0
    With foster carers provided by LA 2 98 96 68 25 5
    With foster carers purchased by LA 6 94 92 61 22 0
    In other community(2) * * * * * 0
Residential Accommodation (children with one placement)
In local authority home 16 84 69 31 * 0
    In voluntary home 20 80 80 * * 0
    In other residential(3) 35 65 58 * * 0
More than one placement 11 89 81 32 * 0
All looked after full year 14 86 76 39 12 1

(1) Cells containing * represent small numbers that have been suppressed to maintain confidentiality.

(2) Includes with prospective adopters.

(3) Includes in residential school, secure care accommodation or crisis care.

(4) Data is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities.

For school leavers looked after for part of the year, similar results are found. Those looked after in residential accommodation, with more than one placement and at home with parents tend to achieve lower levels of attainment than those looked after with friends and relatives and with foster carers. (Table 1.3).

Table 1.3: Highest level of attainment of school leavers looked after for part of the full year, by placement type, 2017/18(1)(4)

    Looked after leavers
% No passes at SCQF 3 or better % with 1 or more qualification at SCQF
Level 3 or better Level 4 or better Level 5 or better Level 6 or better Level 7 or better
In the community (children with one placement)      
    At home with parents 25 75 52 17 * 0
    With friends or relatives 8 92 80 51 13 *
    With foster carers provided by LA 5 95 90 72 28 8
    With foster carers purchased by LA 3 97 97 72 34 *
    In other community(2) - - - - - -
Residential Accommodation (children with one placement)      
    In local authority home 25 75 69 31 * 0
    In voluntary home * * * * 0 0
    In other residential(3) 14 86 71 * * 0
More than one placement 22 78 54 27 * 0
    All looked after part year 18 82 67 36 11 1

(1) Cells containing * represent small numbers that have been suppressed to maintain confidentiality.

(2) Includes with prospective adopters.

(3) Includes in residential school, secure care accommodation or crisis care.

(4) Data is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities.

Highest level of qualification by number of placements

Young people who are looked after may be looked after in different residences over time. Moving to a new residence or a new carer is recorded as a change in placement. Table 1.4 shows that an estimated 75% of leavers looked after for the full year who had just one placement all year achieved one or more qualification at level 4 or better compared with 86% of looked after leavers who had 3 or more placements during the year.

Table 1.4: Highest qualification achieved by school leavers (looked after for the full year) by number of placements they had in the year, 2017/18(1)(2)

No passes at SCQF 3 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 3 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 4 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 5 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 6 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 7 or better
1 placement 15 85 75 40 14 1
2 placements 13 87 79 30 * 0
3 or more placements 7 93 86 36 * 0
All looked after full year 14 86 76 39 12 1

(1) Cells containing * represent small numbers that have been suppressed to maintain confidentiality.

(2) Data is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities.

For school leavers looked after for part of the year, 83% of those with one placement achieved one or more qualifications at SCQF level 3 or better (Table 1.5). This compares with 87% of leavers with two placements and 60% of those with three or more placements. It should be noted that the number of children looked after for part of the year with three placements was very small.

In previous years, leavers with one placement tended to achieve a higher level of qualification than those with multiple placements. However, this is not reflected in this years’ figures for both those looked after for the full year and part of the year, as there is no clear pattern in the number of placements and the highest level of qualification achieved.

Table 1.5: Highest qualification achieved by school leavers (looked after for part of the year) by number of placements they had in the year, 2017/18(1)(2)

No passes at SCQF 3 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 3 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 4 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 5 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 6 or better 1 or more qualification at SCQF level 7 or better
1 placement 17 83 68 37 11 2
2 placements 13 87 67 33 10 0
3 or more placements 40 60 * * 0 0
All looked after part year 17 83 67 36 11 1

(1) Cells containing * represent small numbers that have been suppressed to maintain confidentiality. Cells containing - represent nil.

(2) Data is estimated by using 2016/17 figures for Glasgow City and 2017/18 figures for all other local authorities.


Contact

Email: william.howes@gov.scot