Looked after children: education outcomes 2018-2019

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


Local authorities have a responsibility to provide support to a group of vulnerable young people, known as 'looked after children'. A young person may become looked after for a number of reasons, including neglect, abuse, complex disabilities which require specialist care, or involvement in the youth justice system.

This publication links school and social work data to present information on school leaver attainment, the post-school destinations, school attendance and exclusion rates and Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels of looked after young people who left school in 2018/19.

Full results are available from the accompanying tables here: www.gov.scot/ISBN/978-1-80004-015-1

Who are counted in these figures?

This publication reports on the education outcomes of school-age children who were looked after by all local authorities in Scotland at any point between August 2018 to July 2019 and had a recorded Scottish Candidate Number available.

The first two chapters of this publication give information on the education outcomes and post-school destinations of the estimated 1,031 young people who were looked after at any point between August 2018 to July 2019 and who were in the 2018/19 school leaver cohort. These looked after young people represent two per cent of the 49,748 2018/19 school leavers. The final two chapters focus on the achievement of Curriculum for Excellence levels across four year groups of 3,288 young people who were looked after at some point during 2018/19.

The figures presented here are a subset of the population of looked after children in Scotland. This is because the data on looked after children needs to be linked to schools data from publicly-funded schools. Not all looked after children can be successfully linked to the schools data for a variety of reasons. For successful linking to occur, the Scottish Candidate Number of the child is needed to obtain data on their education outcomes. A Scottish Candidate Number is usually assigned to a child when they begin school. Therefore looked after children of pre-school age are excluded from the analysis presented in this publication. Some school-age looked after children also have missing Scottish Candidate Numbers in the data provided to Scottish Government by local authorities. Therefore, these children are also excluded from the figures. More information on this is available in the background notes.

This year, the way in which the data is reported has changed; instead of reporting separately on children looked after for the full year and those looked after for part of the year, results are presented for all children looked after within the last year as one category. The main reason for this is that the splitting of looked after children into full and part year categories was becoming less of a meaningful distinction, especially for school leavers. Being looked after for part of the year may not be a good indicator of the level of stability that a young person experiences; for example, young people who cease to be looked after may remain in the same place as they did while they were looked after, and not therefore as likely to experience the same level of instability as a young person starting to be looked after, who would also be included in the looked after for part of the year category.

Data is still available in the accompanying tables for overall attainment, post-school destinations and attendance and exclusion by those looked after for the full year and part year for purposes of continuity.


Email: children.statistics@gov.scot

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