Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on these statistics
Follow-up destinations relate to the activity being undertaken by young people approximately nine months after the end of the school year (April 2021). A separate statistical publication in February 2021 provided information on the initial destinations of 2019/20 school leavers, approximately three months after the end of the school term (October 2020).
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 to 2019/20 school leavers may have been directly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (employment opportunities, for example). The options available to school leavers may also have been affected by the impact of the 2020 certification approach on school leaver attainment. Figures presented for the previous school leaver cohort (2018/19) relate to outcomes as at early April 2020 and therefore will not reflect the full impact of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Figures presented for earlier cohorts (2009/10 to 2017/18) are unaffected. The time series is comparable but further analysis and interpretation of these statistics and their trends should take into account the potential impact of the pandemic as noted above.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may have also affected local partnerships' ability to track some school leavers through home visits meaning that their initial and/or follow-up destination may be 'Unknown'. This is likely to have affected the proportion of 2018/19 and 2019/20 school leavers with an 'Unknown' follow-up status.
How can I use School Leaver Destination figures?
Do not use School Leaver Destination figures
X Without considering the impact that Covid-19 may have had on the availability of particular opportunities.
Use School Leaver Destination figures
√ As an accurate reflection of school leavers' (follow-up) destinations.
√ To compare the destinations of different groups of school leavers.
√ To make comparisons over time of the destinations of school leavers.
1.2 School leaver follow-up destinations
This publication provides information on the follow-up destinations of 2019/20 school leavers, relating to outcomes approximately nine months after the end of the school year (first Monday in April 2021). Further information on how these statistics may be affected by the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is given in section 4.2.
A separate publication – 'Summary Statistics for Attainment and Initial Leaver Destinations' – published in February 2021, provided information on the initial destinations of 2019/20 school leavers, approximately three months after the end of the school term (first Monday in October 2020).
School leaver destinations data is based on the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) 'Opportunities for All' shared dataset matched with pupil census records for the school year 2019/20.
A school leaver is defined as a young person of school leaving age, who left school during or at the end of the school year. For 2019/20 school leavers, the leaver year is 18th September 2019 to 15th September 2020. For more information on how this data is collected, see section 4.3.1.
This publication covers school leavers from all stages of secondary school. For most young people, S4 (≈15-16 year olds) is the last compulsory year of school, but the majority choose to stay on and complete S5 (≈16-17 year olds) and S6 (≈17-18 year olds).
Figures are based on pupils in publicly funded mainstream schools, in the 32 local authorities and one grant aided school.
Destinations are grouped in the following categories:
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