Summary statistics for attainment and initial leaver destinations, no. 6: 2024 edition

This statistical publication provides information on the educational attainment and initial destinations of 2022-23 school leavers from publicly funded schools in Scotland.

Section 7. Glossary and symbols used

Additional Support Needs (ASN):

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) Scotland Act 2004 (as amended) states that a child or young person has an additional support need where they need additional support in order to benefit from school education.

Code of Practice for Statistics:

The Code of Practice for Statistics provides producers of official statistics with the detailed practices they must commit to when producing and releasing official statistics.

Curriculum for Excellence:

Curriculum for Excellence is Scotland’s curriculum. It helps our children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century.

National Improvement Framework (NIF):

The National Improvement Framework (NIF) is Scottish Government policy to ensure children and young people develop a broad range of skills and capacities, whilst supporting them to thrive, regardless of their social circumstances or additional needs.

Publicly funded mainstream school:

Schools which are run and financed by the local authority and grant-aided schools.

Pupil Census:

A Scottish Government data collection, collecting a range of information and statistics on school pupils in Scotland. For more information see School education statistics.

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD):

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation identifies small area concentrations of multiple deprivation across Scotland.

Least deprived:

Pupils whose home address is in the 20% of least deprived data zones (small areas) as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Most deprived:

Pupils whose home address is in the 20% of most deprived data zones (small areas) as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Special schools:

Most children with additional support needs are educated in mainstream schools but some with complex or specific needs are educated in special schools.

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA):

The national accreditation and awarding body for Scotland. SQA develops, maintains, and improves a framework of qualifications including National Qualifications and a range of other qualifications.

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF):

The SCQF is Scotland’s national qualifications framework which allows broad comparisons to be made between qualifications.

SCQF credit points:

SCQF credit points provide an indication of the length of time it takes to complete a course’s learning outcomes, with 1 credit point equating to 10 notional hours of learning.

SCQF Level:

The SCQF level indicates the level of difficulty of a particular qualification or learning programme.

Senior Phase:

Senior Phase takes place from S4 to S6 in schools. It is the phase when a young person will build up a portfolio of qualifications and continue to develop the knowledge, skills, attributes and capabilities of the four capacities of Curriculum for Excellence.

Urban Rural Classification:

The Urban Rural Classification is an Official Statistic used to distinguish between rural and urban areas. Within this publication the Urban Rural Classification 2020 has been used for analysis of 2022-23 data. For more information see Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2020

School leaver destination categories used in this publication:

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.


Includes leavers who are on a training course and in receipt of an allowance or grant. 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 school leavers with a destination category of Training in years 2018-19 to 2021-22 cannot be directly compared to the proportion recorded for previous years.


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 the 2020 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 is no longer 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 for Work 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 for 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.


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.

Symbols used in this publication:

[z] = not applicable

[c] = value suppressed to protect against the risk of disclosure of personal information

[low] = value less than 0.05% but greater than zero.



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