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Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No.4: 2014 Edition

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3. Leaver Destinations

3.1 Skills Development Scotland (SDS) contact each young person they have identified as a school leaver in the September after they leave school and again the following March. SDS ask the school leaver what they are doing and record their primary destination (HE, employment etc.). This information is used to inform 16+ Learning Choices[3], and other policy initiatives, and helps ensure that adequate support is provided for young people who may require help with entering and sustaining a positive destination. It is also used to monitor progress on the Scottish Government national indicator: "increase the proportion of young people in learning, training or work" (previously School leavers, from Scottish publicly funded schools, in positive and sustained destinations: Further Education (FE), Higher Education (HE), employment or training). This year this national indicator on the Scotland Performs website will indicate 'Performance Maintaining'. In the Background Notes section there is more detailed information on the different statuses and methodology used.

3.2 SDS release initial leaver destinations data in December, and this is available on their website (http://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/statistics/school-leaver-destination-returns/). They also publish information on the follow-up survey in coordination with this release. The 2012/13 initial destination information published here differs from the SDS release due to the removal of nine duplicate leaver records. However, the percentage of 2012/13 school leavers in positive initial destinations remains unchanged at 91.4 per cent.

Table 3. Percentage of school leavers by initial and follow up destination category, 2010/11 to 2012/13

Column Percent (percentages may not total 100 due to rounding)

2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
Initial Follow Up2 % point change Initial Follow Up2 % point change Initial Follow Up2 % point change
Destination Category
Higher Education 35.8 34.0 -1.8 37.3 35.6 -1.7 36.5 36.3 -0.2
Further Education 27.1 24.7 -2.4 26.7 25.0 -1.7 27.8 24.5 -3.3
Training 5.6 3.5 -2.1 4.6 3.8 -0.8 5.0 3.2 -1.8
Employment 19.3 24.0 4.7 19.8 23.9 4.1 20.4 24.6 4.2
Voluntary Work 0.5 0.5 0.0 0.4 0.5 0.1 0.5 0.5 0.0
Activity Agreement1 0.5 0.6 0.1 0.9 0.7 -0.2 1.3 0.9 -0.4
Unemployed seeking 9.6 10.5 0.9 8.4 8.2 -0.2 7.1 7.9 0.8
Unemployed Not Seeking 1.2 1.7 0.5 1.3 1.8 0.5 1.2 1.7 0.5
Unknown 0.3 0.6 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.0
Positive Destinations 88.9 87.2 -1.7 89.9 89.5 -0.4 91.4 90.0 -1.4
Number of Leavers 54,073 53,850 50,885 50,668 52,792 52,611

1. In April 2011, the Scottish Government rolled out the use of Activity Agreements. See background note 3.2.7.

2. Leavers who moved outwith Scotland, were deceased, or who had returned to school between the initial and follow up survey were excluded.

3.3 In September 2013, 91.4 per cent of school leavers, from the academic year 2012/13, were in positive destinations. By March 2014 this had decreased to 90.0 per cent. This is higher than the 89.5 per cent in March 2013 (Table 3). The decrease of 1.4 percentage points between September and March is larger than that seen the previous year, but smaller than the decrease for 2010/11 leavers.

3.4 The majority of school leavers were in Higher and Further Education (64.3 per cent) in the September after leaving school, with 20.4 per cent in Employment and 8.2 per cent were Unemployed (Table 3). This represents the highest proportion of school leavers in Higher and Further Education since comparable records began. The numbers in employment have gradually been increasing since the lowest recorded comparable statistic of 18.4 per cent in 2008/09. A time series of initial destinations, dating from the early 1990s, is available in the supplementary data.

3.5 By March 2014 the proportion of leavers in Higher Education and Further Education had decreased by 3.4 percentage points, while the proportion in Employment had increased by 4.2 percentage points (Table 3), compared to the previous September.

3.6 Monitoring initial and follow up destinations of school leavers gives an indication of their long term prospects and helps identify which young people may require help in maintaining a positive destination. The extent to which leavers remain in a destination category varies. The vast majority of school leavers who entered Higher Education in September 2013 were still in Higher Education the following March (94.4 per cent), while there was more movement in other destination categories, for example training (Table 4). The nature and duration of Training can differ and as a result individuals' outcomes are not always the same.

3.7 The scope of this collection 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 within the Labour Market section of the Scottish Government website, and the Scottish Funding Council publishes data on participation in Higher Education.

Table 4. Percentage of school leavers who sustained a destination or moved into another destination category, 2012/13

Number of school leavers, Row Percent (percentages may not total 100 due to rounding)

Number of School Leavers in the Initial Survey Remained in their original destination at follow up survey Follow up Destination
Moved to Higher Education Moved to Further Education Moved to Training Became Employed Entered Voluntary Work Entered into an Activity Agreement Became Unemployed Seeking Became Unemployed Not Seeking Unknown
Initial Destination
Higher Education 19,268 94.4 1.9 * 2.6 0.1 * 0.7 0.2 0.0
Further Education 14,654 80.9 5.3 1.6 5.8 0.1 0.3 5.1 0.6 0.2
Training 2,615 27.3 * 7.9 29.0 0.6 2.2 30.5 1.9 *
Employment 10,769 89.4 0.9 2.2 1.1 0.2 0.1 5.4 0.6 0.1
Voluntary Work 271 52.4 * 3.0 5.2 24.9 * 8.6 3.7 0.0
Activity Agreement 693 36.2 * 5.2 17.9 9.5 * 24.1 6.0 *
Unemployed Seeking 3,733 41.5 0.9 5.7 11.8 28.6 0.8 2.9 5.2 2.7
Unemployed Not Seeking 619 67.9 * 2.5 2.5 7.2 * 2.6 16.2 0.0
Unknown 170 13.5 4.9 9.2 * 32.5 * * 31.9 4.3
Number1 of Leavers in the Follow Up Survey 52,611 19,091 12,910 1,671 12,968 242 492 4,142 914 181

1. 181 School leavers from the initial survey moved outwith Scotland, were deceased or had returned to school between the initial and follow up surveys and were not included in the follow up survey.3.8 The majority of school leavers are in the same positive destination (77.4 per cent) in March 2014 as they entered in September 2013 (Table 5). Small proportions moved from a positive destination to a negative destination (5.3 per cent) and from a negative destination to a positive one (3.9 per cent) (Table 5).

Table 5. Percentage of school leavers who sustained or moved destination, by age1 2012/13

Column Percent (percentages may not total 100 due to rounding)

Age on 30th June 20131
16 or under 17 18+ All Leavers2
Destination Category
Same positive destination in both 61.9 83.1 85.7 77.4
Positive destination to another positive destination 11.3 8.1 7.0 8.8
Positive destination to a negative destination 11.1 3.0 2.6 5.3
Negative destination to a positive destination 6.3 3.0 2.6 3.9
Negative destination in both 9.3 2.7 2.1 4.6
Number of leavers 15,656 23,986 12,633 52,275

1. 351 leavers were excluded from the age analysis on the basis that a robust match to the Pupil Census was not made.

2. This percentage is based on all leavers except those who moved outwith Scotland, were deceased or who had returned to school between the initial and follow-up survey, they were excluded.

3.9 The proportion of leavers staying in a positive destination increases with age. Over 70 per cent of those aged 16 or under were in a positive destination in September and the following March, compared to over 90 per cent of 17 year-olds (Table 5). This will be linked to older school leavers staying on longer at school, attaining higher levels of qualifications and entering Higher Education, which has been shown to be a very sustainable destination.