Chapter 3: School Leaver Destinations
- 93.3 per cent of 2019/20 school leavers were in a positive initial destination (95.0 per cent for 2018/19).
- 44.2 per cent of school leavers were in Higher Education (the highest proportion of all categories and the highest percentage since consistent records began in 2009/10).
As described in section 1.1.1, the 2019/20 figures on school leavers’ initial destinations will reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on choices made by, and opportunities available to, pupils upon leaving school during the pandemic.
3.1 Destinations of School Leavers
Table 1 shows that 93.3 per cent of all 2019/20 school leavers were in a positive initial destination. This was lower than in 2018/19 (95.0 per cent) and the lowest since 2014/15 (93.2 per cent).
72.2 per cent of 2019/20 leavers were in Higher or Further Education. This is the highest rate since consistent records began in 2009/10.
The percentage of school leavers in Employment has decreased from 22.9 per cent for 2018/19 leavers to 16.2 per cent in 2019/20, the lowest figure on record (comparable data available from 2009/10).
The percentage of school leavers who were Unemployed has increased from 4.5 per cent for 2018/19 to 6.0 per cent for 2019/20 leavers.
|Personal Skills Development||0.4||0.5||0.4||0.4||0.5||0.8|
|Unemployed Not Seeking||1.0||1.2||1.4||1.3||1.4||1.8|
|Number of Leavers||52,491||52,305||51,300||49,748||49,760||47,454|
1. From 2018/19, support previously recorded as Activity Agreements is recorded in the Training category. As a result, the proportion of school leavers recorded in the Training category is not directly comparable prior to and post 2018/19. For more information see section 7.3.2.
2. The 'Unknown' status in 2019/20 may be affected by local partnerships' ability to track school leavers through home visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3.2 Destinations by Stage
The initial destinations of 2019/20 school leavers by stage of leaving (Chart 2) show:
- the majority of S6 leavers entered Higher Education (64.5 per cent);
- the most common initial destination for S5 leavers was Further Education (42.8 per cent) followed by Employment (24.1 per cent);
- the majority of S4 leavers entered Further Education (57.0 per cent).
1. ‘Other positive’ includes Personal Skills Development, Training and Voluntary Work.
2. ‘Other destination’ includes Unemployed seeking, Unemployed not seeking and Unknown.
3.3 Destinations by Deprivation
Chart 3 shows that the percentage of school leavers in a positive initial destination has decreased in 2019/20, for leavers from both the (20%) most deprived and (20%) least deprived areas, based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). The proportion of school leavers in a positive initial destination has fallen by more amongst leavers from the most deprived areas than it has amongst those from the least deprived areas which has led to an increase in the deprivation gap, from 5.4 percentage points in 2018/19 to 6.3 percentage points in 2019/20.
Section 3.1 showed that the proportion of all school leavers entering Higher Education increased between 2018/19 and 2019/20, while the proportion entering Employment decreased to a record low. Time series data of destinations by deprivation (available in Table 2 in the supplementary tables) shows that the proportion entering Higher Education increased amongst all SIMD groups but by least among those from the most deprived areas. Leavers from each SIMD group saw a decrease in the proportion entering Employment with there being no clear pattern by deprivation.
Table 2 provides a breakdown of initial school leaver destinations by SIMD for 2019/20. It shows, for example, that pupils from the most deprived areas continue to be less likely to enter Higher Education than those from the least deprived areas.
In 2019/20, the most common destination for leavers from the most deprived areas was Further Education at 37.5 per cent.
In 2019/20, 9.1 per cent of leavers from the most deprived areas were unemployed, compared to 3.4 per cent of leavers from the least deprived areas.
pp = percentage point difference between most and least deprived SIMD quintile
1. Based on SIMD 2009 for 2009/10 and 2010/11, SIMD 2012 for 2011/12 to 2015/16 and SIMD 2016 for 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20. More information on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016 (SIMD 2016) can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-index-multiple-deprivation-2016/.
|2019/20 Initial Destination||0-20% (Most Deprived)||20-40%||40-60%||60-80%||80-100% (Least Deprived)||Percentage point gap2||Total|
|Unemployed Not Seeking||2.7||2.1||1.6||1.5||1.1||-1.6||1.8|
|Number of Leavers||10,463||9,176||9,047||9,480||9,288||47,454|
1. Based on SIMD 2016. More information on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016 can be found at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-index-multiple-deprivation-2016/.
2. The percentage point gap measures the difference between the most and least deprived pupils.
3.4 Destinations by Pupil Characteristics
Table 3 shows the percentage of school leavers who entered a positive initial destination by various characteristics.
The percentage of 2019/20 school leavers in positive initial destinations has decreased for most groups, compared to 2018/19.
School leavers in 2019/20 with an Additional Support Need (ASN) were less likely to go on to a positive initial destination, compared to leavers without a recorded ASN (89.6 per cent compared to 95.4 per cent). These statistics relate to leavers from mainstream schools only. Similar statistics relating to destinations of secondary and special school leavers combined are available in Supplementary Table L3.1.
Pupils of an Asian ethnic background tend to be more likely to go on to a positive initial destination. Rates for most ethnic groups in a positive destination for 2019/20 have decreased compared to 2018/19.
Females continue to be more likely to enter positive destinations than males; 94.6 per cent of females and 92.1 per cent of males entered a positive destination.
Other Urban areas had the lowest proportion of leavers in positive destinations (92.7 per cent), compared to Accessible Rural areas which had the highest (94.7 per cent).
More information on destinations by pupil characteristics is available in the supplementary tables found in the supporting files here: https://www.gov.scot/ISBN/978-1-80004-680-1
|Ethnicity1||White - Scottish||93.2||93.4||93.7||94.4||94.9||93.2|
|White - non-Scottish||92.2||94.0||94.7||95.1||95.8||93.3|
|Mixed or multiple ethnic groups||93.4||92.8||94.9||95.5||93.8||92.3|
|Asian - Indian||*||*||*||97.2||97.2||*|
|Asian - Pakistani||94.8||93.6||96.5||95.8||97.1||97.2|
|Asian - Chinese||*||*||*||98.0||*||*|
|Asian - Other||94.7||95.9||96.4||97.0||*||95.0|
|African/ Black/ Caribbean2||92.6||93.8||95.3||96.9||96.4||94.7|
|All other categories3||89.4||93.1||93.7||91.7||93.7||93.4|
|Not Disclosed/Not known||93.3||92.3||92.7||91.5||92.8||91.2|
|Urban/Rural||Large Urban Areas||92.1||92.4||93.0||93.6||95.0||93.1|
|Other Urban Areas||93.2||93.8||93.4||94.4||94.5||92.7|
|Accessible Small Towns||93.9||94.1||94.5||94.8||95.7||94.2|
|Remote Small Towns||94.3||94.6||94.7||95.0||94.9||92.9|
|Additional Support Needs4
1. Some categories have been grouped together due to small numbers. Some categories (typically ‘Asian – Indian’, ‘Asian – Chinese’ contain between 100-200 leavers and due to relatively small numbers may be subject to fluctuation. Comparisons between groups should take this into account.
2. The 'African/ Black/ Caribbean' category includes 'African', 'African - Other', and the 'Caribbean or Black' categories.
3. 'All other categories' includes 'Other - other' and 'Other - Arab'.
4. Pupils who have a Coordinated Support Plan (CSP), Individualised Educational Programme (IEP) or Child’s Plan are assessed or declared disabled or have another need.