Chapter 2: School leaver destinations
- 93.2 per cent of 2017/18 leavers were in a positive follow-up destination (92.9 per cent for 2016/17).
- 39.0 per cent of leavers were in Higher Education (the highest proportion of all categories).
2.1 Skills Development Scotland school leaver destinations data
Information is collected on the destination of school leavers three months after they leave school (initial destination) and again nine months after they leave (follow-up destination). This publication focuses on follow-up destinations of all school leavers. Follow-up information provides information on the sustained destinations of school leavers. Information on the 2017/18 school leavers’ initial destinations was published in February 2019, here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/summary-statistics-attainment-initial-leaver-destinations-1-2019-edition/
School leavers who are engaged in higher education, further education, training, voluntary work, employment or activity agreements are classified as having a 'positive destination'. Other destinations include school leavers who are unemployed and individuals whose destination is not known.
Higher education includes school leavers who have went on to study higher education courses, irrespective of whether this is at university or college. It is not limited only to those studying at university. Users should keep this distinction in mind when looking at these statistics. For full definitions of leaver destinations please see background note 5.3.2.
School leavers who engage in Personal Skills Development (PSD) are placed in a category based on details of the activity they are undertaking. Where they do not readily fit into any other category they are counted as unemployed seeking. We are currently considering the appropriate categorisation of school leavers’ participating in Personal Skills Development, for more information please see background note 5.3.3.
2.2 School leaver destinations
Table 1 shows that 93.2 per cent of all 2017/18 school leavers were in a positive follow-up destination, this was higher than the proportion in 2016/17 (92.9 per cent) and the highest since 2009/10, the first year for which directly comparable data are available.
Table 1 also shows that, nine months after leaving school, 61.7 per cent of the 2017/18 leavers were in Higher or Further Education, slightly higher than that for 2016/17 leavers (61.3 per cent). The proportion in employment was 28.3 per cent in 2017/18 which has remained the same since 2016/17. The percentage unemployed has decreased slightly from 6.3 per cent for 2016/17 leavers to 5.8 per cent for 2017/18 leavers.
Looking over a longer period, from 2009/10 to 2017/18, Employment and Higher Education have seen the largest increases by 5.3 and 4.9 percentage points respectively. Whilst the proportion of Unemployed seeking school leavers has decreased by 8.1 percentage points during this period.
The 2017/18 school leavers cohort is the smallest since 2012/13. This reflects the reduction in the number of S4 to S6 pupils in 2017/18, which has decreased due to few births between 2000 to 2002.
Table 1: Percentage of school leavers by follow-up destination category, 2009/10 to 2017/18
Column Percent (percentages may not total 100 due to rounding)
|Unemployed Not Seeking||1.8||1.6||1.8||1.6||1.5||1.6||1.9||1.9||1.9|
|Number of Leavers||52,953||53,255||49,610||51,515||51,293||52,337||52,113||51,172||49,650|
1. In April 2011 the Scottish Government rolled out the use of Activity Agreements.
The follow-up destinations of 2017/18 school leavers by stage of leaving (Chart 1) show:
- the majority of S6 leavers entered Higher Education (57.7 per cent);
- the most common follow-up destination for S5 leavers was Employment (40.5 per cent) followed by Further Education (33.5 per cent);
- the most common destination for S4 leavers was Further Education (39.9 per cent).
Chart 1: Follow-up destination of leavers by stage of leaving, 2017/18
1. Other Positive includes Activity Agreements, training and voluntary work.
2. Other Destinations includes unemployed seeking, unemployed not seeking, and unknown.
2.3 School leaver destinations by deprivation
Chart 2 shows that the percentage of school leavers in a positive follow-up destination has increased in 2017/18, both for leavers from the most deprived areas and leavers from the least deprived areas based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). This has led to a slight reduction in the deprivation gap from 8.7 percentage points in 2016/17 to 8.6 percentage points in 2017/18 and the gap is now at its lowest level back to 2009/10, the first year for which directly comparable data is available.
Table 2 provides a breakdown of follow-up school leaver destination by SIMD. Amongst other things it shows the extent to which pupils from the most deprived areas continue to be less likely to enter Higher Education than those from less deprived areas. In 2017/18 the most common destination for leavers from the most deprived areas was Further Education at 32.0 per cent. In 2017/18, 10.2 per cent of leavers from the most deprived areas were unemployed, compared to 2.7 per cent of leavers from the least deprived areas. A time series of destinations by SIMD is available in the supplementary tables. A list of these tables is available at background note 5.7.
Chart 2: Percentage of school leavers in a positive follow-up destination, by SIMD, 2009/10 to 2017/18
pp = percentage point difference between most and least deprived
Table 2: Percentage of school leavers by follow-up destination category by SIMD, 2017/18
|0-20% (Most Deprived)||20-40%||40-60%||60-80%||80-100% (Least Deprived)||Percentage point gap1||All leavers|
|Unemployed Not Seeking||3.2||2.4||1.7||1.1||0.9||-2.3||1.9|
|Number of Leavers||10,526||9,725||9,670||10,003||9,726||49,650|
1. The percentage point gap measures the difference between the most and least deprived pupils.
2.4 School leaver destinations by pupil characteristics
Table 3 shows the percentage of leavers who entered a positive follow-up destination by various characteristics captured by the pupil census.
Leavers in 2017/18 with an additional support need (ASN) were less likely to go on to a positive destination, compared to leavers without a recorded ASN (87.9 per cent compared to 95.3 per cent).
Pupils of an Asian - Indian ethnic background tend to be more likely to go onto a positive follow-up destination than those from other ethnic groups. Rates across ethnic groups for positive destinations for 2017/18 show a mixed picture compared to 2016/17. As proportions in White, Mixed or multiple ethnic groups and African/Black/Caribbean ethnic backgrounds have increased; while some Asian ethnic backgrounds have decreased.
Females continue to be more likely to enter a positive destination than males; 94.2 per cent of females and 92.2 per cent of males entered a positive destination. Large urban areas tend to have the lowest proportion of leavers in positive destinations (92.2 per cent), compared to remote rural areas which have the highest (95.7 per cent). More information on destinations by pupil characteristics is available back to 2009/10 in the supplementary tables. A list of these tables is available at background note 5.7.
Table 3: Percentage of school leavers in a positive follow-up destination, by pupil characteristic, 2012/13 to 2017/18
|White - Scottish||90.3||91.5||91.9||91.3||92.7||93.0|
|White - non-Scottish||92.1||92.8||92.1||92.5||93.8||94.0|
|Mixed or multiple ethnic groups||92.0||93.6||92.8||92.7||92.4||93.6|
|Asian - Indian||91.2||96.6||96.3||96.9||*||97.2|
|Asian - Pakistani||92.4||93.2||95.2||92.5||95.6||93.5|
|Asian - Chinese||98.8||98.8||97.1||95.9||*||96.4|
|Asian - Other||95.7||97.0||96.2||95.1||95.3||93.9|
|African/ Black/ Caribbean2||91.9||96.0||94.4||92.3||93.7||96.0|
|All other categories3||92.1||91.9||91.2||87.9||94.0||92.0|
|Not Disclosed/Not known||88.1||88.5||90.1||88.8||90.7||89.6|
|Large Urban Areas||89.0||90.6||91.5||90.0||92.2||92.2|
|Other Urban Areas||90.4||91.4||91.6||91.4||92.2||92.7|
|Accessible Small Towns||92.1||93.1||93.4||93.4||93.1||93.5|
|Remote Small Towns||93.1||93.1||93.2||92.8||94.1||94.3|
|Additional Support Needs4|
* percentages based on fewer than 5 pupils have been suppressed for disclosure and quality reasons.
1. The categories used to collect ethnicity and national identity in the 2011 pupil census agree with the categories used in the main population census. Some categories have been grouped together due to small numbers. Some categories contain between 100-200 leavers.
2. From 2012/13 to 2017/18 the 'African/ Black/ Caribbean' category include 'African', 'African - Other', and the 'Caribbean or Black' categories.
3. From 2012/13 to 2017/18, 'All other categories' includes 'Other - other' and 'Other - Arab'.
4. Pupils who have a CSP, IEP, Child’s Plan are assessed or declared disabled or have another need.