Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 School Leaver Destinations
This publication provides information on the initial destinations of 2018/19 school leavers, relating to outcomes approximately three months after the end of the school year (1st Monday in October 2019).
A separate publication - ‘Summary Statistics for Follow-up Leaver Destinations’ – will follow in June 2020 and will provide information on the follow-up destinations of 2018/19 school leavers, approximately nine months after the end of the school term (1st Monday in April).
School leaver destinations data is based on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) ‘Opportunities for All’ shared dataset matched with pupil census records for the school year 2018/19.
A school leaver is defined as a young person of school leaving age, who left school during or at the end of the school year. For 2018/19 school leavers, the leaver year is 19th September 2018 to 17th September 2019. For more information on how this data is collected, see section 7.2.2.
This publication covers school leavers from all stages of secondary school. For most young people, S4 (≈15-16 year olds) is the last compulsory year of school, but the majority choose to stay on and complete S5 (≈16-17 year olds) and S6 (≈17-18 year olds).
Figures are based on pupils in publicly funded mainstream schools, in the 32 local authorities and one grant aided school.
Destinations are grouped in the following categories within this statistical bulletin:
1.2 School Leaver Attainment
Within this report, school leaver attainment data covers Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) National Qualifications achieved throughout all stages of a pupil’s education at school. The range of qualifications included can be found in the diagram below.
The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) is used as the basis for reporting attainment. The SCQF is Scotland’s national qualifications framework. The SCQF has 12 levels, which, in ascending order (SCQF Level 1-12), indicate the level of difficulty of a particular qualification. With reference to a set of ‘level descriptors’, the SCQF allows for broad comparisons to be made between qualifications. It also allows learners, employers and the public in general, to understand the range of skills and learning that should be achieved at each level.
This publication reports the number of passes at a given SCQF level or better and the highest SCQF level achieved at SCQF Levels 3 to 7, incorporating the following qualifications:
(Current qualifications currently are marked with a tick ✓)
Highers (SCQF Level 6) are generally taken in S5/S6 and Advanced Highers (SCQF 7), are generally taken in S6. Highers, sometimes along with Advanced Highers, are the Scottish qualifications required for entry into Higher Education.
In this publication, grade A to C (or ungraded pass) is considered a pass. If a pupil attains a D at a certain level, this is counted as attainment at the level below.
School leavers from 2018/19 are the fourth cohort to have experienced the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) throughout the senior phase of their school education. School leavers from 2013/14 and 2014/15, will have taken a range of qualifications from the current set to older qualifications that have now been phased out.
For more information on how this data is collected, see section 7.2.1.
1.3 School Leaver Attainment and Destinations
This publication brings together information on school leaver attainment and school leaver destinations, including analysis of destinations by level of attainment.
Destinations data is matched to information from the pupil census, which is subsequently matched to the attainment data. This enables analysis of attainment and destinations by pupil characteristic.
For more information on how this data is matched, see section 7.2.3.