Summary Statistics for Attainment and Initial Leaver Destinations, No. 4: 2022 Edition
This statistical publication provides information on the educational attainment and initial destinations of 2020/21 school leavers from publicly funded schools in Scotland.
This document is part of a collection
Chapter 3: School Leaver Destinations
- 95.5 per cent of 2020/21 school leavers were in a positive initial destination (93.3 per cent for 2019/20). This is the highest since consistent records began in 2009/10.
- 45.1 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).
- The percentage of school leavers in a positive initial destination has increased in 2020/21 for leavers from both the (20%) most deprived and (20%) least deprived areas compared to 2019/20.
- The gap between the two groups has decreased from 6.3 percentage points in 2019/20 to 4.8 percentage points in 2020/21 (the lowest it has been since consistent records began in 2009/10).
As described in section 1.1.1, the 2019/20 and 2020/21 figures on school leavers' initial destinations will reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on choices made by, and opportunities available to, leavers in these years.
Particular care should therefore be taken when interpreting changes between 2019/20, 2020/21, and other years. The pandemic will have been at least partly responsible for the relatively low proportion of 2019/20 school leavers in a positive destination compared to surrounding years and the size of the latest increase in 2020/21 should be interpreted with this in mind.
3.1 Destinations of School Leavers
Table 1 shows that 95.5 per cent of all 2020/21 school leavers were in a positive initial destination. This was higher than in 2019/20 (93.3 per cent) and the highest since consistent records began in 2009/10.
In 2020/21, 68.4 per cent of school leavers were in Higher or Further Education approximately 3 months after leaving school. This was lower than in 2019/20 (72.2 per cent) but higher than in 2018/19 (67.6 per cent). This drop between 2019/20 and 2020/21 was driven by a drop in the proportion of school leavers in Further Education. Between 2019/20 and 2020/21 the proportion of school leavers in Further Education decreased from 28.1 per cent to 23.3 per cent – the lowest on record. Over the same period (2019/20 to 2020/21) the proportion of leavers in Higher Education increased from 44.2 per cent to 45.1 per cent – the highest proportion since 2009/10.
The percentage of school leavers in Employment has increased from 16.2 per cent in 2019/20 to 22.6 per cent in 2020/21. This increase follows a large drop from 22.9 per cent in 2018/19 to the record low figure of 16.2 per cent in 2019/20, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on school leavers' choices and opportunities. The subsequent increase in 2020/21 brings the proportion of school leavers entering employment back into line with pre-pandemic figures.
The percentage of school leavers who were Unemployed has decreased from 6.0 per cent for 2019/20 to 4.2 per cent for 2020/21 school leavers.
|Personal Skills Development||0.5||0.4||0.4||0.5||0.8||0.5|
|Unemployed Not Seeking||1.2||1.4||1.3||1.4||1.8||1.7|
|Number of Leavers||52,305||51,300||49,748||49,760||47,454||50,746|
Note 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 7.3.1.
Note 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.
Note 3: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.
Note 4: Data from 2009/10 to 2020/21 are available in the supplementary tables.
Note 5: [z] = not applicable (see section 7.3.2 for full list of symbols used in tables).
3.2 Destinations by Stage
Chart 2 shows the initial destinations of 2020/21 school leavers by stage of leaving. It shows that:
- the majority of S6 leavers entered Higher Education (65.7 per cent);
- the most common initial destination for S5 leavers was Employment (36.4 per cent) followed by Further Education (35.0 per cent);
- S4 leavers were most likely to enter Further Education (49.0 per cent).
Note 6: 'Other positive' includes Personal Skills Development, Training and Voluntary Work.
Note 7: '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 increased in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20, for leavers from both the (20%) most deprived and (20%) least deprived areas, based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) (see section 7.2.4).
Between 2019/20 and 2020/21 the proportion of school leavers in a positive initial destination has increased by more amongst leavers from the most deprived areas than it has amongst those from the least deprived areas. This has led to a decrease in the deprivation gap, from 6.3 percentage points in 2019/20 to 4.8 percentage points in 2020/21 – the smallest gap on record. It should be noted that the size of the 2019/20 deprivation gap was likely affected by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Interpretation of the change between 2019/20 and 2020/21 should bear this in mind.
Time series data of destinations by deprivation (available in Table 2 in the supplementary tables) suggests that the narrowing of the gap between 2019/20 and 2020/21 is largely due to the proportions of school leavers entering employment. Section 3.1 showed that the proportion of all school leavers entering employment increased by 6.4 percentage points between 2019/20 and 2020/21. Whilst the proportion of school leavers entering employment increased across all SIMD groups between 2019/20 and 2020/21, the size of the increase was greater amongst school leavers from the most deprived areas (6.6 percentage points) than amongst those from the least deprived areas (4.4 percentage points).
Table 2 provides a breakdown of initial school leaver destinations by SIMD for 2020/21. 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 2020/21, the most common destination for leavers from the most deprived areas was Further Education at 33.8 per cent.
In 2020/21, 6.6 per cent of leavers from the most deprived areas were unemployed, compared to 2.3 per cent of leavers from the least deprived areas.
Note 8: pp = percentage point difference between most and least deprived SIMD quintile
Note 9: Based on SIMD 2009 for 2009/10 and 2010/11, SIMD 2012 for 2011/12 to 2015/16, SIMD 2016 for 2016/17 to 2019/20 and SIMD 2020 for 2020/21. More information can be found on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
|2020/21 Initial Destination||0-20% (Most Deprived)||20-40%||40-60%||60-80%||80-100% (Least Deprived)||Percentage point gap||Total|
|Personal Skills Development||1.0||0.5||0.3||0.2||0.1||-0.9||0.5|
|Unemployed Not Seeking||2.4||2.1||1.5||1.3||1.1||-1.3||1.7|
|Number of Leavers||10,916||9,888||9,744||10,312||9,886||50,746|
Note 10: Based on Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2020.
Note 11: The percentage point gap measures the difference between the most and least deprived pupils.
Note 12: Percentages may not total 100 due to rounding.
Note 13: [low] = value less than 0.05%. (See section 7.3.2 for full list of symbols used in tables.)
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 2020/21 school leavers in positive initial destinations has increased for almost all groups, compared to 2019/20.
School leavers in 2020/21 with an Additional Support Need (ASN) were less likely to go on to a positive initial destination, compared to leavers without a recorded ASN (92.8 per cent compared to 97.0 per cent) – a result consistent with previous years. These statistics relate to leavers from mainstream schools only; similar statistics relating to destinations of mainstream and special school leavers combined are available in Supplementary Table L3.1.
The proportions of school leavers in a positive destination increased for most ethnic groups between 2019/20 and 2020/21. The highest proportion of school leavers in a positive destination in 2020/21 was amongst the African / Black / Caribbean group.
Females continue to be more likely to enter positive destinations than males: 96.2 per cent of females and 94.7 per cent of males entered a positive destination in 2020/21. This result is consistent with previous years.
Remote Rural areas had the highest proportion of leavers in positive destinations in 2020/21 (96.7 per cent), whilst Remote Small Towns had the lowest (94.7 per cent).
More information on destinations by pupil characteristics is available in the supplementary tables.
|White - Scottish||93.4||93.7||94.4||94.9||93.2||95.5|
|White - non-Scottish||94.0||94.7||95.1||95.8||93.3||95.1|
|Mixed or multiple ethnic groups||92.8||94.9||95.5||93.8||92.3||96.5|
|Asian - Indian||[c]||[c]||97.2||97.2||[c]||[c]|
|Asian - Pakistani||93.6||96.5||95.8||97.1||97.2||96.7|
|Asian - Chinese||[c]||[c]||98.0||[c]||[c]||[c]|
|Asian - Other||95.9||96.4||97.0||[c]||95.0||97.0|
|African/ Black/ Caribbean||93.8||95.3||96.9||96.4||94.7||97.5|
|All other categories||93.1||93.7||91.7||93.7||93.4||94.9|
|Not Disclosed/Not known||92.3||92.7||91.5||92.8||91.2||92.7|
|Large Urban Areas||92.4||93.0||93.6||95.0||93.1||95.6|
|Other Urban Areas||93.8||93.4||94.4||94.5||92.7||94.9|
|Accessible Small Towns||94.1||94.5||94.8||95.7||94.2||95.7|
|Remote Small Towns||94.6||94.7||95.0||94.9||92.9||94.7|
|Additional Support Needs|
Note 14: 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.
Note 15: The 'African/ Black/ Caribbean' category includes 'African', 'African - Other', and the 'Caribbean or Black' categories.
Note 16: 'All other categories' includes 'Other - other' and 'Other - Arab'.
Note 17: 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.
Note 18: [c] = value suppressed to protect against the risk of disclosure of personal information. (See section 7.3.2 for full list of symbols used in tables.)
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