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This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

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Current Status

85.2% of school leavers were in positive destinations in 2010/11, compared with 85.1% in the previous year and 87.0% in the base year 2007/08.

More on school leavers

National Indicator


Increase the proportion of school leavers (from Scottish publicly funded schools) in positive and sustained destinations (FE, HE, employment or training)

Increase the proportion of school leavers in positive and sustained destinations

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Why is this National Indicator important?

The successful transition of all school leavers into positive and sustained destinations is of great importance to both the individual and wider society. The learning provided and accessed during a pupil's school career provides the bedrock for enabling future opportunities to be realised through a combination of the skills, aptitude and personal qualities which enable individuals to lead positive and productive adult lives.

This indicator provides clear evidence of how the Scottish system of education is supporting and enabling pupils to make positive decisions about their future and critically how these decisions are sustained. It also provides important evidence more broadly, on how those organisations across the employment, training, education and vocational sectors are developing and sustaining the opportunities and skills of the young people for whom they have responsibility.

At a national level we know that around 12% of Scotland's 16-19 year olds are currently not in employment, further or higher education or training. Of these, around 8,000 have left school in the last year. These are high figures by international standards. While, for some, this may be a positive choice (such as those taking a gap year) there is strong evidence that many such young people subsequently: fail to achieve their potential; may not find regular, fulfilling employment; may encounter significant health or social problems; or may become involved in criminal activity.

There is a strong association between under-achievement and unemployment. So, in creating improved school leaver destinations which are sustained by the efforts of both the individual and the organisations with which they engage, we will help deliver improvements to the economy, as well as address a range of social issues central to improving the opportunities available to individuals throughout their life.

What will influence this National Indicator?

We know that the vast majority of pupils leave school and enter into positive destinations which build on their skills and enable them to develop as individuals and in how they contribute to the wider society. Making progress is therefore about continuing to develop and provide opportunities for all pupils as they move through their school career and ensuring transitions into adult life are supported. However, critically there continues to be a real need to address the ongoing strong correlation between young people who leave school without positive destinations and, those who are low achievers at school, those who have become disengaged from school, those living in or experiencing deprivation and those young people leaving care.

The Government's wider aim of tackling the causes of poverty and deprivation offer an important intervention that can influence this indicator. So can:

  • Early identification of individuals at risk and support for them throughout their time at school.
  • The development of a school curriculum that supports the capacities and interests of all young people.
  • Effective careers advice and guidance and targeted support, both from schools and other agencies.
  • Provision of effective advice, guidance and support for those who have already left school to help them towards positive destinations.

What is the Government's role?

Working in the context of its More Choices, More Chances strategy, the Government is encouraging local authorities, community planning partnerships and other partners, including employers, to undertake a broad range of interventions to address this complex and, until now, intractable issue. The Early Years framework, the development of the Curriculum for Excellence, work to improve the careers support provided in schools and increased support for post-school psychological services all have a role to play in this, together with the activity outlined in the outcome agreements currently being discussed with local authorities and community planning partnerships.

How are we performing?

The proportion of school leavers in positive and sustained destinations was 85.2% in March/April 2011 compared to 85.1% in March/April 2010.

The methodology for determining the proportion of school leavers in positive destinations has been slightly modified since the last update. This does not affect the comparability of the data, or the arrowhead assigned in this instance. The changes are explained in the background section of the publication Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and school meals.


View data on positive destinations for school leavers

Source: School Leavers Destination Survey, Follow-up Survey


This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 1 percentage point of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening. Changes resulting from the improved recording of unknown destinations were also taken into account in this evaluation.

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Further Information

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

Who are our partners?

Community Planning Partnerships



Local Authorities


The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership (SCQF)

Skills Development Scotland

Voluntary sector organisations

Related Strategic Objectives



Wealthier and Fairer

View National Indicator data

Downloadable document:

Chart for Scotland Performs National Indicator 10, school leavers in positive and sustained destinationsChart for Scotland Performs National Indicator 10, school leavers in positive and sustained destinations [XLS, 29.5 kb: 24 Jun 2011]
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Performance Improving


Performance Maintaining


Performance Worsening

no info

Performance data currently being collected