Curriculum for Excellence 2020-2021 - OECD review: initial evidence pack

Initial evidence base for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) independent review of Curriculum for Excellence, developed by the Scottish Government, to provide the OECD with contextual information and evidence on the Scottish education system, in advance of their research and engagement work.

Section 1: Key Facts About The Context Around Scotland's Education

1.1 Demographic Trends

Scotland has a population of around 5.46 million including 0.92 million (17%) children aged under 16 and 1.03 million (19%) aged under 18. Scotland's population is at a record high and has been growing steadily since the turn of the century. This has been driven mainly by net inward migration as opposed to births and the population of children has declined slightly over this period.

1.2 Economy And Labour Market

Labour market statistics for Scotland are published on a monthly basis and relate to a 3-month period. At the time of writing the latest statistics cover October to December 2020 and show an employment rate of 73.7% (a decrease of 1.3 percentage points over the year), an unemployment rate of 4.5% (an increase of 1.0 percentage points over the year) and an inactivity rate of 22.8% (an increase of 0.6 percentage points over the year). These statistics follow COVID-19 related policies implemented from the end of March 2020 whereas those for the previous year do not.

In October 2019 - September 2020, 291,000 young people aged 16-24 years were in employment in Scotland. The employment rate for young people (16-24 year olds) in Scotland in October 2019 - September 2020 was 52.1 per cent, 7.0 percentage points lower than a year ago (59.0 per cent). The employment rate had increased from a low of 52.5% in October 2011 – September 2012 but has now decreased to a rate lower than that seen in October 2011 – September 2012. 

1.3 Socioeconomic Indicators

Around 19% (1,020,000) of the population of Scotland were in relative poverty after housing costs in 2016-19. Over half (53%, 540,000) of these were in poverty despite having at least one working adult in the household.

Around a quarter of children in Scotland (24%, around 230,000) were in relative poverty (after housing costs) in 2016-19. This has been fairly stable over the last few years although is up from 21% in 2010-13 and 2011-14. Over two-thirds (65%, 150,000) of these were in poverty despite there being at least working adult in the household.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ranks small areas from most to least deprived and is used to monitor the poverty-related attainment gap (see section 2.1 below). 



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