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 7: Background Notes
7.1 National Statistics Publication
This is a National Statistics Publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics.
These statistics undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. This publication has been assessed by the UK Statistics Authority.
7.2 Sources and Methodology
Source and Quality Assurance
School leaver destination data is sourced from the Opportunities for All shared dataset which is managed and hosted by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) on behalf of partners. The data is held on the SDS operational Customer Support System (CSS). This data set contains information shared by local authorities, colleges, Scottish Funding Council, Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) via a secure online portal known as the 16+ Data Hub. The data to be shared is documented within the Post-16 Education (Scotland) Act 2013 and there are a series of business rules governing the processing of this data.
Data that has been shared by partners is combined with information gathered directly from young people, their parents/carers or their representatives by SDS staff delivering services to individuals, including transitional support to school leavers. SDS has at least one named adviser for each school in Scotland who works directly with pupils and school staff to support the transition of young people from school. As this combined data is primarily used for operational purposes the quality is continually monitored to ensure SDS, local authorities and colleges can monitor and plan for a young person's involvement in education, training or employment and identify those young people who require advice or support.
SDS has developed guidance documents for their staff which set out the specific activities and processes involved in identifying, engaging with and confirming the status of SDS customers. This information includes definitions of the available statuses on CSS and step by step recording guidance. SDS staff have access to specific reports for data quality and more specifically to support the school leaver destination process. These reports will identify school leavers and provide details of their destinations including the source of the information and the date the information was validated.
Prior to destination data being shared with the Scottish Government, final quality checks are carried out centrally by the Corporate Planning and Performance Reporting team within SDS. These include a review of statuses to ensure the reported destination reflects the available detail e.g. course details and course levels are correctly reported as higher or further education. In addition, final checks of shared data are made to ensure destinations are consistent with data sources e.g. matching information about modern or graduate apprentices.
A pupil is counted as a school leaver if they have a leaver record on the Opportunities for All shared data set, a Scottish Government pupil census record for the same academic year, and no Scottish Government pupil census record in the following academic year.
The initial destinations data in this publication provide information on the outcomes for young people approximately three months after the end of the academic year (the 1st Monday in October) while the follow-up publication provides information on the outcomes of young people approximately nine months after the end of the academic year (the 1st Monday in April). These collections should be seen as complementary to one another but it should be noted that various factors may affect the results at different time periods.
Throughout this publication the initial destination statistics exclude special school leavers from the calculations. For information on initial destination statistics which include special school leavers see table L3.1 in the supplementary tables.
Recording of 'unemployed seeking' statuses
The rollout of Universal Credit (UC) commenced in March 2016 and has replaced out of work benefits, such as Jobseekers' Allowance, that were previously used to update the status of individuals to 'unemployed seeking'. For previous releases of these statistics, Skills Development Scotland did not receive data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Universal Credit claimants.
SDS now receive UC data from DWP which they have used to validate the initial destinations of 2020/21 school leavers.
It is likely that this data has had a limited impact on the initial destination figures presented at a national level in this report. SDS maintains an accurate record of the circumstances of the school-leaver-aged young people in unemployment that it engages with, through the delivery of post-school services. The availability of UC data from DWP will, in most cases, have confirmed the statuses of school leaver which had already been determined through this engagement.
Source and Quality Assurance
Data on National Qualifications are provided by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) using data from the live SQA Awards Processing System (APS).
SQA provide two extracts of data to the Scottish Government (SG); one in August (pre-review data) and one in December (post-review data). The December extract is used in this publication.
For 2021, the August data extract includes records with a result date between 22 August 2020 and 31 July 2021 (where a candidate has been entered, has a final result or has been certificated), Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) credit information, SCQF points, SCQF levels and qualification types (where available) and excludes records on qualification types that are out of scope.
The SQA data extract is merged with school roll data provided by the Scottish Government (Scottish Candidate Number (SCN), centre number and stage information) from the SG pupil census. Data are retained and provided to the Scottish Government only where there is a match by SCN on the SQA data extract and the school roll data. This ensures SQA only provide records for which Scottish Government have legitimate interest to process.
The December data extract is formed of the August data extract, updated with information from the results of appeals. The December extract contains records provided in the August attainment data transfer which match with the SQA APS on SCN and product code. Any records that were present in the August extract, but are no longer present in SQA APS, will not feature in the December extract; such changes will typically be due to course withdrawals/changes.
Most of the data presented in this publication concentrates on National Qualifications (e.g. National 5, Highers, etc. – see section 1.4 for further information).
The attainment data presented in this publication (and supplementary tables) includes qualifications achieved throughout all stages of a pupil's schooling. Qualifications data from SQA are available on a consistent basis from 2005/06, meaning any attainment for earlier leaver cohorts (e.g. those who left in 2009/10) which pre-dates 2005/06 (i.e. in early stages of secondary school) may be missing.
The attainment data are based on the result date of learners' qualifications. In some cases, this may lead to attainment being reported in a different academic year to that reported by SQA. There is also the possibility of a small number of awards being excluded if an appeal is successful after a pupil has left. Only attainment data for candidates with a Scottish Candidate Number in the pupil census that year are included.
This publication uses the 'latest and best' approach for attainment data. This means that only the best result within a subject is counted, with a grade A to C (or ungraded pass) considered a pass. For example, if a pupil passes Higher Mathematics one year and Advanced Higher Mathematics the following year, only the Advanced Higher qualification will be counted when looking at how many qualifications at any level that leaver has achieved by the time they left school.
If a pupil attains a D at a certain level this is not counted as achieving that level. Instead it is counted as being equivalent to attainment at the level below (note, even though there may not be a qualification offered at the level below). For example, if a pupil attains a D at SCQF Level 5 in a certain subject this would be counted as attaining at SCQF Level 4 or better for that subject and not at SCQF Level 5 or better.
Attainment statistics exclude special school pupils unless otherwise stated.
The methodology used for these statistics is distinct from other sources of attainment data (for a comprehensive list of sources see section 7.10). The table below outlines the main differences between this publication and the SQA statistics published annually in August.
|This publication||SQA attainment statistics|
|Main measure||Numbers of passes achieved by individual school leavers at a given SCQF level (pupil level)||Grades and number of passes achieved in total in a given qualification or course (qualification level)|
|Focuses on||Highest level attained by individual school leavers||Grades and pass rates in different qualifications broken down by subject|
|Cohort covered||School leavers only||All candidates, including school pupils who entered SQA qualifications, as well as those in non-school settings|
|Qualifications covered||Main measures based on National Qualifications only, based on latest 6 years of attainment data||All SQA qualifications entered in a single year|
School leavers from 2020/21 are the sixth cohort to have experienced the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) throughout the senior phase (S4-S6) of their school education. School leavers from 2013/14 and 2014/15 will have taken a range of awards and qualifications, including both current qualifications and older qualifications that have now been phased out (such as Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2)
For most young people S4 is the last compulsory year of school, but the majority choose to stay on and complete S5 and S6 (see Chart 1). Highers (SCQF Level 6) are generally taken in S5 or 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
Under CfE, schools and their partners are able to offer greater personalisation and choice in the Senior Phase (S4 to S6) in a range of ways, for example by: designing the Senior Phase as a three year experience, rather than planning each year separately; and delivering qualifications over a variable timeframe in response to young people's needs and prior achievements. Developing Scotland's Young Workforce (see section 6.1) has built upon this and has strengthened partnerships between schools, colleges, employers and other providers to increase the range of options and pathways on offer to young people.
With more choices available in the senior phase, young people are also taking a range of vocational qualifications, including National Certificates, Higher National Qualifications, Scottish Vocational Qualifications, National Progression Awards and Skills for Work qualifications, alongside their National Qualifications. These provide a valuable route into Further Education, Higher Education, training or employment. This publication mainly concentrates on National Qualifications (e.g. National 5, Highers, etc.) and Skills for Work qualifications. Statistics on school leavers achieving vocational qualifications can be found in section 6.1 (above) and in table A1.3 of the supplementary tables. Statistics on Foundation Apprenticeships can be found in section 6.2 (above) and in table A1.5 of the supplementary tables. Section 6.3 (above) and tables W1-W4 in the supplementary tables provide information on the new, proposed 'All SQA qualifications' measure.
A list of all the tables available in the supplementary tables can be found in section 7.8.
Literacy and numeracy attainment
When the publication refers to Literacy or Numeracy attainment, a pupil is counted towards having literacy or numeracy attainment if they have passed units from the list below.
|SCQF Level 4|
|Intermediate 1||Gaidhlig Unit Group 1, English Unit Group 1, English Unit Group 2, Gaidhlig Unit Group 2, English Unit Group 3||Maths Unit Group, Maths Unit Group 2|
|National 4||ESOL Unit Group||Application of Mathematics, Gniomhachas Matamataigs (Applications of Mathematics)|
|SCQF Level 5|
|Intermediate 2||Gaidhlig Unit Group 1, English Unit Group 1, English Unit Group 2, ESOL Unit Group 1, ESOL Unit Group 2, Gaidhlig Unit Group 2, English Unit Group 3||Maths Unit Group, Maths Unit Group 2|
|National 5||English Unit Group, ESOL Unit Group, Gaidhlig Unit Group, English Unit Group 2, English, English Speakers of Other Languages, Gaidhlig||Mathematics Unit Group, Matamataig Unit Group, Application of Mathematics, Mathematics, Gniomhachas Matamataigs (Applications of Mathematics), Matamataigs (Mathematics)|
|SCQF Level 6|
|Higher||Gaidhlig Unit Group 1, English Unit Group 1, English Unit Group 2, ESOL Unit Group 1, ESOL Unit Group 2, Gaidhlig Unit Group 2, English Unit Group 3, English Unit Group 4, ESOL Unit Group 1, ESOL Unit Group 2, Gaidhlig Unit Group 3, English Unit Group 5||Maths Unit Group, Maths Unit Group 2, Matamataigs Unit Group, Maths Unit Group 3, Matamataigs Unit Group 2|
Note: ESOL = English for Speakers of Other Languages
7.2.3 Attainment and destinations data matching
The school leaver destinations data from SDS is matched to the SG pupil census and to SQA data, so that pupil characteristics and attainment data can be linked to the destinations. Only leavers from the SDS data with a match to the pupil census are included in the analysis within this publication. This means that some leavers are excluded from the analysis.
For the 2013/14 school leaver cohort, the leaver matching methodology was updated. This updated methodology has been adopted since then, and data back to 2009/10 leavers have been produced on a consistent basis. These data are not directly comparable with data prior to 2009/10, and caution should be exercised when making comparisons with data prepared using the previous method.
All matching is done within certain constraints:
- Pupil census record must be in S3 or above, or categorised as SP (Special School), or AD (Adult Learner) in order to be included.
- School attended must be the main school attended by the pupil.
After being matched to the pupil census the destination data are then matched to the SQA attainment data using the Scottish Candidate Number (SCN).
7.2.4 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)
The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) identifies small area concentrations of multiple deprivation across Scotland. The SIMD ranks small geographical areas – called data zones - from most deprived (ranked 1) to least deprived (ranked 6,976). The data zones can then be grouped into five quintiles, covering the 20% most deprived areas to the 20% least deprived areas.
In this publication, the SIMD is used to assess how the destinations and attainment of school leavers differ based on the level of deprivation in their home (or school) area. Pupils are assigned to an SIMD quintile based on the data zone recorded for their home address in the Scottish Government's pupil census. If the pupil does not have a data zone recorded in the pupil census data, the data zone of the pupil's school is used.
The SIMD is updated periodically (typically every three or four years) and therefore the SIMD used in these statistics is also updated in line with this to ensure that the most appropriate version is used. For example, SIMD 2016 was first used for 2016/17 school leavers and, in line with this, for the 2020/21 school leavers covered by this report, SIMD 2020 has been used for the first time.
Analysis has been conducted to determine the impact of using different SIMD versions for 2019/20 and 2020/21 school leavers. This has shown that the change in SIMD version has had had little impact on the figures on destinations and attainment by deprivation presented in sections 3.3 and 4.3 of this report i.e. the change to using SIMD 2020 for 2020/21 school leavers is not the reason for the narrowing of the gaps which is observed between 2019/20 and 2020/21.
7.3 Definitions & Symbols
Leaver destinations are categorised by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) based on shared administrative data wherever possible. Alternatively, they have been captured by staff in data sharing organisations or through direct data input by SDS staff, as a result of contact with individuals, their parents/carers or organisations an individual is engaging with. The following categories for leaver destinations are included in this statistical bulletin:
Positive destination: includes higher education, further education, training, employment, voluntary work, Personal Skills Development and (between 2010/11 and 2017/18) Activity Agreements.
Higher Education: includes leavers following Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC) courses, degree courses, courses for the education and training of teachers and higher level courses for professional qualifications. It includes programmes at a level higher than the standard of the National Qualifications, i.e. above SCQF Level 7. Leavers with a deferred, unconditional place in higher education have also been included in this category.
Further Education: includes leavers undertaking full-time education which is not higher education and who are no longer on a school roll. This may include National Qualifications.
Training: includes leavers who are on a training course and in receipt of an allowance or grant, such as the Employability Fund national training programme. It also includes leavers who are on local authority or third sector funded training programmes that are in receipt of a training allowance or those participating in Community Jobs Scotland.
From 2018/19 this category includes school leavers receiving support that would previously have been recorded as 'Activity Agreements'. This means that the proportions of 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 school leavers with a destination category of Training cannot be directly compared to the proportion recorded for previous years. Further information can be found in the Activity Agreements definition below.
Employment: includes those who consider themselves to be employed and in receipt of payment from their employers. It includes young people undertaking training in employment through national training programmes such as Modern Apprenticeships and Graduate Apprenticeships.
Voluntary Work: includes those undertaking voluntary work/volunteering which will involve a young person giving of their time and energy through a third party with or without financial allowance.
Personal Skills Development: Young people who have a destination as Personal Skills Development (PSD) on the Opportunities for All shared dataset fall into one of two different categories:
PSD (Employability): including individuals who participate in activities with the aim of employment. For example programmes run by community learning and development or third sector organisations.
PSD (Social & Health): includes individuals who may not be ready to enter the labour market and require access to support from support services to make transitions into learning/work or adulthood. An example of this is where an individual undertakes structured opportunities appropriate to their long term needs or to address their barriers to engaging in education, employment or training.
The way in which school leavers undertaking Personal Skills Development are counted in these statistics changed in 2018/19 and data for previous years was revised to allow consistent comparisons over time. Further information can be found in a previous release of this publication (section 6.1)
Activity Agreements: prior to 2018/19 this included those for whom there was an agreement between a young person and an advisor that the young person would take part in a programme of learning and activity which helped them become ready for formal learning or employment.
The integration of funding streams as part of the ongoing implementation of No One Left Behind means that although local authorities will provide the same type of support and opportunities for young people, this activity will no longer be funded under the banner of 'Activity Agreements'. This means it is no longer appropriate to record school leavers receiving this support using this category. Instead they are recorded in the Training category for 2018/19 onwards. Note that data for earlier years continues to include the Activity Agreements category reflecting the support that was available at the time.
Unemployed seeking: includes those known by Skills Development Scotland or their partners to be seeking employment or training. This includes those receiving support from SDS, Department of Working and Pensions and other partners. It is based on regular contact between the supporting organisation and the individual. This does not refer to the definition of 'unemployed' used by the Department of Work and Pensions to calculate published unemployment rates.
Unemployed not seeking: includes all those individuals who are not yet ready or are unavailable to enter the labour market for a range of reasons. The reasons may involve ill health/sickness, prison, pregnancy, caring for children or other dependents or taking time out.
Unknown: includes all leavers whose destination is not known either to Skills Development Scotland, the school attended, other partners or were not able to be contacted at the survey point.
The following symbols are used:
[z] = not applicable
[c] = value suppressed to protect against the risk of disclosure of personal information
[low] = value less than 0.05%
7.4 Additional Support Needs
An Additional Support Need (ASN) is recorded where a pupil is receiving any form of additional support for learning, this could be for a wide variety of reasons, of different durations and of any type. The different types of support provided include Co-ordinated Support Plans (CSP) and Individualised Educational Programmes (IEP) as well as disabilities, Child's Plans and other plans. Under previous legislation a pupil may have been categorised as having a Record of Need (RoN).
7.5 Coronavirus (COVID-19)
7.5.1 School Leaver Destinations
Destinations figures may reflect both choices made by pupils, as well as the opportunities available to them upon leaving school. The availability of particular opportunities (employment opportunities, for example) to 2019/20 school leavers may have been directly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Last year for 2019/20 school leavers, the start dates for some opportunities were delayed, leading to a direct impact on the destinations recorded for some pupils. The pandemic may also have affected local partnerships' ability to track some school leavers through home visits.
For 2020/21 school leavers these issues are not thought to have affected destinations data. However, it is likely that the pandemic will have continued to affect the choices made by, and opportunities available to, some school leavers.
In addition to possible ongoing direct impacts on the availability of some opportunities, the approaches taken to the certification of SQA qualifications in 2020 and 2021 will have affected the attainment of some school leavers. Similarly, the pandemic may have influenced pupils' decisions on when to leave school (for example, delaying leaving from 2019/20 to 2020/21). Together these factors could have affected the attainment of some school leavers, which may in turn have affected the destination choices and opportunities available to them.
7.5.2 School Leaver Attainment
2020 and 2021 attainment in National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher
The attainment data presented in this report covers Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) National Qualifications at SCQF levels 3-7 achieved throughout all stages of pupils' education at school.
The attainment data is calculated by considering school leavers' attainment over the previous 6 years. Results focus on the highest level achieved and so it is likely that attainment in earlier years will have a limited impact on the final figures. For 2020/21 school leavers' total attainment is based on attainment from 2016 to 2021.
In both 2020 and 2021 the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to the cancellation of National 5 (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 5), Higher (SCQF Level 6) and Advanced Higher (SCQF Level 7) exams and alternative approaches were taken to determining grades.
In 2020 exams were cancelled and the decision was taken that the SQA could not collect coursework or mark coursework that had already been collected. Grades in the qualifications listed above were instead based on teacher estimates.
In 2021 the Alternative Certification Model (ACM) was employed. This differed from the approach taken in 2020 and required teachers and lecturers to use their professional judgement of a learner's demonstrated attainment to determine results in line with subject-specific guidance. The SQA selected courses from each school and college for national quality assurance and provided subject-specific feedback to centres.
The measures in this report focus on the highest SCQF level achieved. Typically this is gained in the final year before a pupil leaves school. For example, amongst 2020/21 school leavers, 69 per cent achieved their highest level in 2021 and 27 per cent achieved their highest level in 2020. So for many 2020/21 school leavers the demonstrated attainment approach taken in 2021 will have had the biggest impact on the attainment measures in this report. In total, 96 per cent of 2020/21 school leavers achieved their highest level in either 2020 or 2021 meaning that for almost all 2020/21 school leavers the highest level was attained in a year in which an alternative approach to certification was in place.
The pandemic may also have influenced some pupils' decisions on when to leave school (for example, delaying leaving from 2019/20 to 2020/21), which will have affected their opportunities to attain passes and qualifications.
In this report, the proportions of 2020/21 school leavers attaining passes at SCQF levels 5, 6 and 7 (or better) have increased by more than has typically been seen in previous years. This follows on from relatively large increases in attainment amongst 2019/20 school leavers reported last year. When interpreting these changes, the different approaches to certification in 2021 and 2020 should be kept in mind.
Attainment at SCQF level 4 may also be affected as a result of the treatment of grade Ds at SCQF level 5 (see Section 1.3). In addition, the 'total qualifications achieved' figures in this report and the associated tables provide information on the number of passes at a given SCQF Level or better. Any impact of the different approach to certification in 2020 or 2021 on SCQF Levels 5, 6 or 7 could filter down to measures at SCQF Level 3 or better and at SCQF level 4 or better.
The attainment data in this report provides an accurate reflection of the attainment with which 2019/20 and 2020/21 school leavers in Scotland left school. For this reason the 2019/20 and 2020/21 attainment data have been presented alongside each other and alongside data for previous years. However, care must be taken when comparing between years. Interpretation must take full account of the different certification models used in 2021, 2020 and before and increases in attainment levels in 2020/21 and 2019/20 should not be seen as an indication that performance has improved without further evidence.
2020 Attainment in National 3 and National 4
National 3 and National 4 qualifications are made up of units which are internally assessed as pass or fail by the school or college and externally assured by SQA.
Adaptations were made as appropriate to assessment within National 3 in 2020/21.
For National 4 courses, SQA reviewed its approach to assessment in response to feedback from teachers and lecturers, and to support schools, colleges, and training providers to manage assessment where it has been impacted by disruption to learning and the ongoing restrictions associated with COVID-19.
2021 Attainment in National Certificates, National Progression Awards, Skills for Work courses and other Awards
For these qualifications, the approach to certification was adapted for 2021 depending on the circumstances and on what level of assessment evidence could be produced.
- Where learners were able to produce sufficient evidence using the traditional unit-by-unit assessment model, assessments continued as normal. Internal verification and processing of results also continued as normal.
- Where it was not possible to progress with or complete assessments using the traditional unit-by-unit approach the course team were advised to consider opportunities to use permitted adaptations in line with SQA guidance. Following this guidance, learners could generate assessment evidence for all outcomes for all units, and assessment judgements were determined on the basis of this evidence. Internal verification and processing of results continued as normal.
- Where it was considered not possible to complete assessments to meet the outcomes of units in an award, centres were advised to carry out holistic assessments to meet the aims of many of these awards and any critical competences for that award.
In situations where conditions meant that a unit-by-unit assessment approach could not progress, even with permitted adaptations and the qualification was subject to regulation and/or professional body requirements, and/or if the assessment conditions could not be met, centres were advised to postpone assessment until it is possible for it to take place.
SQA carried out external quality assurance activity in support of local quality assurance processes.
Figures used in the commentary of this report are based on the unrounded data which can be found in the supplementary tables. This means that they may not always match with figures that are derived using the rounded data displayed in tables and charts.
7.7 UK Comparisons
Scotland has a different set of qualifications to the rest of the United Kingdom (UK) and comparisons cannot be made directly. Scotland, and the other UK countries, participate in the Programme for International Assessment (PISA) survey on education performance.
The information presented here is for young people who have left school, while in England and Wales information is collected on 16-19 year olds who are not in education, employment or training. As a result direct comparisons cannot be made.
7.8 List of Supplementary Tables
Supplementary tables on attainment and leaver destinations are available.
These tables on attainment and school leaver initial destinations include breakdowns by: characteristics of leavers; local authority; additional support needs; stage of leaving; and subject. There will be information on attainment and leaver destinations of those from special schools.
School Leaver Destinations
- Tables C1.1a & C1.1b: Number and percentage of initial school leavers by stage of leaving, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table L1.1. Percentage of leavers from publicly funded secondary schools by initial destination category, 1992/93 to 2020/21.
- Table L1.2. Percentage of leavers from publicly funded secondary schools by initial destination category and sex, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table L1.3. Percentage of leavers from publicly funded secondary schools by initial destination category and 6-fold Urban Rural classification of school, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table L1.4. Percentage of leavers from publicly funded secondary schools by initial destination category and ethnic background, 2020/21.
- Table L1.5. Percentage of leavers from publicly funded secondary schools by initial destination category and national identity, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table L1.6. Percentage of leavers from publicly funded secondary schools by initial destination category and whether declared or assessed disabled, 2009/10 and 2014/15 to 2020/21.
- Table L2.1. Percentage of leavers from publicly funded secondary schools by initial destination and local authority, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table L2.2. Number of leavers from publicly funded secondary schools by initial destination category and local authority, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table L3.1. Percentage of secondary and special school leavers from publicly funded schools by initial destination category and Additional Support Need, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Tables A1.1a. Percentage of secondary school leavers by highest SCQF Level achieved, by SIMD quintile, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table A1.1b. Percentage of secondary school leavers by total qualifications achieved, by SIMD quintile, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Tables A1.2a and A1.2b. Attainment of secondary school leavers by highest SCQF Level achieved in each subject, number and percentage, 2011/12 to 2020/21.
- Tables A1.3a and A1.3b. Number and percentage of secondary and special school leavers from publicly funded schools attaining vocational qualifications at SCQF Level 2 to 7, by local authority, 2013/14 to 2020/21.
- Tables A1.4a and A1.4b. Percentage and number of secondary school leavers with no passes at SCQF Level 3 or better, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table A2.1. Percentage of school leavers by highest SCQF Level achieved, by local authority, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table A2.2. Percentage of school leavers by total qualifications achieved, by local authority, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Tables A2.3a and A2.3b. Number and percentage of secondary school leavers by total qualifications achieved, by local authority and SIMD, 2012/13 to 2020/21.
- Table A3.1. Percentage of secondary and special school leavers from publicly funded schools by highest SCQF Level achieved and Additional Support Need, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table A3.2. Percentage of secondary and special school leavers by total qualifications achieved and Additional Support Need, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
E xperimental Statistics
- Table A1.5. Number of secondary school leavers from publicly funded secondary schools attaining Foundation Apprenticeships, by subject, 2020/21.
- Table W1. Percentage of secondary school leavers achieving one or more passes at SCQF Level 3-7 or better, All SQA Qualifications measure, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table W2. Secondary school leavers' attainment by SCQF Level or better and number of passes achieved, percentage of leavers, All SQA Qualifications measure, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table W3. Percentage of secondary school leavers by attainment at SCQF Level 4 to 6, by pupil characteristic, All SQA Qualifications measure, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
- Table W4. Percentage of secondary school leavers by total qualifications achieved, by SIMD quintile, 2009/10 to 2020/21.
There is no additional cost to SQA to supply the attainment data.
As part of the overall approach to delivering the Scottish Government's Opportunities for All commitment the follow-up of school leavers is a business as usual activity for Skills Development Scotland and costs are embedded within their daily operations.
7.10 Further Information
Copies of this publication are available on the Scottish Government's website.
School level information, including attainment on a consistent basis is available through Insight (a professional benchmarking tool used by local authorities and schools) and published on the School Information Dashboard.
The scope of these destination statistics is limited to school leavers, but other sources are available to assess patterns across the wider society. For example, information on employment trends more broadly is available from the Scottish Government labour market statistics website, and the Scottish Funding Council publishes data on participation in Higher Education.
The Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) have developed the Annual Participation Measure (APM) which complements school leaver destination statistics. Published every August, the APM captures the activity of all 16-19 year olds across a complete year, including those who choose to stay on at school as well as those who have left school. The APM has been adopted as the metric for measuring success in relation to the Young people's participation national indicator within the National Performance Framework. The indicator measures the percentage of young adults (16-19 year olds) participating in education, training or employment.' Latest results were published in August.
The Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels return is a census based data collection and gathers data on whether or not pupils have achieved the expected CfE Level for their stage based on the class teachers' professional judgement. The collection covers numeracy and the three elements of literacy (reading, writing, listening and talking) at four stages within Broad General Education: P1, P4, P7 and S3. Following a year in which the data was not collected (2019/20) the collection went ahead for primary school pupils only in 2020/21.
Scotland participates in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) triennial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey. This assessment is undertaken by 15 year-olds in almost eighty countries, including all OECD countries, and as such is a key international benchmark of performance. Results are available on the Scottish Government website.
Skills Development Scotland publish Foundation Apprenticeship Progress Reports on an annual basis. These include data on the number of young people undertaking Foundation Apprenticeships in Scotland.
The table below provides summary information for some of the key sources of data on attainment and the activity of young people in Scotland.
Source: This Publication - Summary Statistics for Attainment and Initial Leaver Destinations
Organisation, usual date of publication, web link: Scottish Government, February 2022
- Provides information on the attainment of school leavers and on the activities being undertaken by school leavers 3 months after leaving school.
- Coverage: School leavers
Source: Summary Statistics for Follow-up Leaver Destinations
Organisation, usual date of publication, web link: Scottish Government, June
- Provides information on the activities being undertaken by school leavers 9 months after leaving school.
- Coverage: School leavers
Source: Annual Participation Measure
Organisation, usual date of publication, web link: Skills Development Scotland, August
- Reports on the economic and employment activity of the wider 16-19 year old cohort, including those at school.
- Coverage: All 16-19 year olds
Source: Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence Levels
Organisation, usual date of publication, web link: Scottish Government, December
- Provides information on national performance of P1, P4, P7 and S3 school pupils. Reports on the percentage of pupils who have achieved the expected Curriculum for Excellence level in these organisers.
- Coverage: All P1, P4, P7 and S3 school pupils. Not collected in 2019/20. Collected for primary school pupils only in 2020/21.
Source: SQA Attainment Statistics
Organisation, usual date of publication, web link: Scottish Qualifications Authority, August
- Attainment Statisticsfor every course and qualification in a given year.
- Coverage: all SQA attainment, not just that of school leavers (and covering those attaining SQA qualifications in non-school settings such as Further Education)
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback