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15 to 24 Learner Journey Review phase one: analysis

Published: 21 Mar 2018
Part of:
Economy, Education, Work and skills
ISBN:
9781788517003

Analysis undertaken as part of stage one of the Learner Journey review examining current education and training provision for 15 to 24 year olds in Scotland.

84 page PDF

1.7MB

84 page PDF

1.7MB

Contents
15 to 24 Learner Journey Review phase one: analysis
5. Transition between School and University

84 page PDF

1.7MB

5. Transition between School and University

This section examines the available information around the transition between school and university.

What proportion of school leavers progress to Higher Education?

Chart 5.1 shows the follow-up destination of leavers by stage of leaving in 2015/16. It shows that school leavers were most likely to continue in education, with S6 leavers most likely to go to Higher Education.

Chart 5.1: Follow-up destination of leavers by stage of leaving, 2015/16
Chart 5.1: Follow-up destination of leavers by stage of leaving, 2015/16
Source: Scottish Government (2017) ' Attainment and leaver publication '
Notes: 'Other Positive' includes activity agreements, training and voluntary work; 'Other Destination' includes unemployed seeking, unemployed not seeking, and unknown.

What are the destinations of school leavers by gender?

Table 5.1 considers the follow-up destinations of school leavers, by gender, for 2015/16. The most noteworthy figures here are for progression to Higher Education and Employment. Female school leavers were more likely to progress to Higher Education than males (43.1 per cent of females compared to 31.7 per cent of males). For employment the opposite is true, with a higher proportion of males progressing to work (32.6 per cent) than females (24.6 per cent).

Table 5.1: Percentage of school leavers from publically funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and gender, 2015/16

Destination Male Female Total
Higher Education 31.7 43.1 37.3
Further Education 22.9 21.9 22.4
Training 2.1 1.3 1.7
Employment 32.6 24.6 28.7
Voluntary Work 0.4 0.5 0.4
Activity Agreement 0.9 0.9 0.9
Positive Destinations 90.6 92.2 91.4
Unemployed Seeking 6.7 4.8 5.8
Unemployed Not Seeking 1.6 2.2 1.9
Unknown 1.1 0.8 0.9
Other Destinations 9.4 7.8 8.6
Number of Leavers 26,495 25,618 52,113

Source: Scottish Government (2017) ' Attainment and Leaver Destinations Supplementary Data 15/16 '

What are the destinations of school leavers by SIMD classification?

Table 5.2 shows the follow-up destinations of school leavers by SIMD decile for 2015/16. The proportion of school leavers progressing to Higher Education increases as we move up SIMD deciles from most to least deprived.

For SIMD 1 (most deprived), 19.8 per cent of school leavers progressed to Higher Education. On the other hand, for SIMD 10 (least deprived), this figure is 61.7 per cent. The reverse is true for Further Education with those from more deprived SIMD deciles more likely to progress to FE than those from less deprived SIMD deciles. At SIMD 1 (most deprived), 30.2 per cent of leavers progressed to FE. This compares to 12.2 per cent of leavers from SIMD 10.

Table 5.2: Percentage of school leavers from publically funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and 2012 SIMD Decile, 2015/16

Destination 1 (most deprived) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (least deprived) Total
Higher Education 19.8 24.0 26.9 30.7 33.7 38.3 40.7 47.1 52.7 61.7 37.3
Further Education 30.2 29.5 27.2 24.9 24.3 21.0 19.5 18.2 15.7 12.2 22.4
Training 3.6 3.0 2.3 2.2 1.3 1.1 1.0 0.9 0.6 0.7 1.7
Employment 27.7 28.6 30.6 31.3 30.9 31.2 31.3 27.5 25.8 21.5 28.7
Voluntary Work 0.2 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.4 0.5 0.8 0.5 0.6 0.4
Activity Agreement 1.6 1.5 1.3 1.2 0.9 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.9
Positive Destinations 83.2 87.0 88.7 90.6 91.4 93.1 93.6 94.8 95.6 96.8 91.4
Unemployed Seeking 11.7 9.2 7.6 6.6 5.6 4.4 4.0 3.3 3.0 2.0 5.8
Unemployed Not Seeking 3.2 2.4 2.3 2.0 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.3 1.0 0.9 1.9
Unknown 1.9 1.3 1.3 0.8 1.1 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.3 0.9
Other Destinations 16.8 13.0 11.3 9.4 8.6 6.9 6.4 5.2 4.4 3.2 8.6
Number of Leavers 5,700 5,137 4,978 5,093 5,044 5,229 5,616 5,378 5,343 4,595 52,113

Source: Scottish Government (2017)' Attainment and Leaver Destinations Supplementary Data 15/16 '

What are the destinations of school leavers by disability?

Table 5.3 shows the follow-up destination of school leavers by disability. We observe that those declared or assessed disabled were less likely (17.7 per cent) to progress to Higher Education than those not declared or assessed disabled (37.8 per cent). They were also less likely to progress to employment than those not declared or assessed disabled.

School leavers declared or assessed disabled were more likely to advance to Further Education (43.0 per cent) than other leavers (21.9 per cent).

Those declared or assessed disabled were more likely to be 'Unemployed Not Seeking' (7.6 per cent) compared to those not declared or assessed disabled (1.8 per cent).

Table 5.3: Percentage of school leavers from publically funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and whether declared or assessed disabled, 2015/16

Follow-up Destination Declared or Assessed Disabled Total
Yes No
Higher Education 17.7 37.8 37.3
Further Education 43.0 21.9 22.4
Training 3.4 1.7 1.7
Employment 17.6 29.0 28.7
Voluntary Work 0.8 0.4 0.4
Activity Agreement 1.5 0.9 0.9
Positive Destinations 84.0 91.6 91.4
Unemployed Seeking 7.5 5.7 5.8
Unemployed Not Seeking 7.6 1.8 1.9
Unknown 0.9 0.9 0.9
Other Destinations 16.0 8.4 8.6
Number of Leavers 1,218 50,895 52,113

Source: Scottish Government (2017) ' Attainment and Leaver Destinations Supplementary Data 15/16 '

What are the destinations of school-leavers by ethnic background?

Table 5.4 shows the percentage of school leavers by follow-up destination category and ethnic background.

In terms of progression to Higher Education, 71.5 per cent of school leavers from an 'Asian – Chinese' background and 58.7 per cent of those from an 'Asian – Indian' background progressed to HE. These are the two ethnic groups with the highest proportions of school leavers progressing to HE.

School leavers from a 'White – Scottish' background were the least likely of all ethnic groups to progress to Higher Education followed by those from a 'White – Non-Scottish' background –with 36.3 per cent and 39.3 per cent progressing respectively. [27]

Whilst the proportion progressing to positive destinations is broadly the same across all ethnic groups, 'White – Scottish' school leavers were slightly less likely to progress to positive destinations than all other ethnic groups, with the exception of those in 'All other categories' or 'Not Disclosed/Not Known'. Progression to positive destinations was best for those from an 'Asian – Indian' ethnic background where 96.9 per cents follow-up destination were positive.

Table 5.4: Percentage of school leavers from publically funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and ethnic background, 2015/16

Follow-up Destination White – Scottish White – non-Scottish Multiple ethnic groups Asian – Chinese Asian – Indian Asian – Pakistani Asian – Other African/ Black/ Caribbean All other categories Not Disclosed/ Not Known Total
Higher Education 36.3 39.3 48.3 71.5 58.7 55.7 56.2 56.7 43.9 34.6 37.3
Further Education 22.1 26.8 15.6 15.0 19.3 22.8 25.7 22.0 21.4 27.3 22.4
Training 1.8 1.1 2.5 - * * * * * 1.5 1.7
Employment 29.8 23.5 25.2 7.8 17.5 11.8 11.7 10.7 19.7 24.0 28.7
Voluntary Work 0.4 0.8 * * * 0.9 * * - * 0.4
Activity Agreement 0.9 1.0 * * - * - * * * 0.9
Positive Destinations 91.3 92.5 92.7 95.9 96.9 92.5 95.1 92.3 87.9 88.8 91.4
Unemployed Seeking 5.9 4.0 4.8 2.6 2.2 5.9 3.0 5.7 8.1 7.6 5.8
Unemployed Not Seeking 1.9 2.3 1.4 * * * * * * 2.3 1.9
Unknown 0.9 1.2 1.1 * * * * * * 1.3 0.9
Other Destinations 8.7 7.5 7.3 4.1 3.1 7.5 4.9 7.7 12.1 11.2 8.6
Number of Leavers 45,810 3,326 441 193 223 786 265 300 173 596 52,113

Source: Scottish Government (2017), ' Attainment and Leaver Destinations Supplementary Data 15/16 '
Notes: 'African/Black/Caribbean' category includes 'African', 'African – Other', and the 'Caribbean or Black' categories.
*Percentages based on less than 5 have been suppressed for disclosure and quality reasons.

What are the levels of attainment for school leavers?

Table 5.5 provides a general overview of the attainment of school leavers, by highest SCQF level at which one or more passes were achieved, for each year from 2009/10 to 2015/16.

In the most recent year, 2015/16, 42.6 per cent of leavers left with at least one pass at SCQF level 6 (Higher or equivalent). An additional 23.9 per cent left with at least one pass at SCQF level 5 (National 5 or equivalent) and nearly one fifth (19.1 per cent) left with at least one pass at SCQF level 7 (Advanced Higher or equivalent). A further 10.7 per cent left with at least one pass at SCQF level 4 (National 4 or equivalent). A small proportion of leavers left with no passes at SCQF level 3 or better (2.0 per cent), or with their highest qualification at SCQF level 3 (1.7 per cent).

Attainment in qualifications at SCQF Level 6 and 7 has increased between 2009/10 and 2015/16. The proportion of school leavers attaining at least one pass at level 6 has increased from 34.8 per cent of leavers in 2009/10 to 42.6 per cent of leavers in 2015/16. Attainment at level 7 increased from 15.6 per cent of school leavers in 2009/10 to 19.1 per cent in 2015/16. However, it is important to be mindful that there have been increases in staying on rates in recent years and thus more opportunities for pupils to attain qualifications at these levels.

We can also observe a fall in the proportion of school leavers leaving with low level qualifications (no passes at SCQF level 3 or better, or SCQF level 3). In 2009/10, 2.8 per cent of leavers attained at least one pass at level 3 with a further 2.8 per cent of leavers attaining no passes at SCQF level 3 or better. These figures had fallen to 1.7 per cent and 2.0 per cent, respectively, by 2015/16.

Table 5.5: Percentage of school leavers from publically funded secondary schools in Scotland by highest SCQF level at which one or more passes were achieved, 2009/10 to 2015/16

SCQF Level 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16
No passes at SCQF 3 or better 2.8 2.3 1.8 1.5 1.7 2.1 2.0
SCQF level 3 2.8 2.6 2.4 2.2 2.0 1.7 1.7
SCQF level 4 17.3 15.9 14.3 13.6 12.0 11.0 10.7
SCQF level 5 26.7 26.9 25.8 26.9 26.2 24.9 23.9
SCQF level 6 34.8 36.1 38.2 38.1 39.8 41.4 42.6
SCQF level 7 15.6 16.2 17.6 17.6 18.3 18.8 19.1
Number of Leavers 53,134 53,394 49,745 51,647 51,416 52,491 52,305

Source: Scottish Government (2017) ' Attainment and Leaver Destinations Supplementary Data 15/16 '

How many learners are currently attaining Advanced Highers?

Advanced Highers ( AH) are usually taken in the sixth year of school, or college, usually by individuals who have already attained Higher qualifications. Advanced Highers sit at Level 7 in the SCQF.

Whilst SQA data for number of Advanced Higher entries is available for 2017, statistics relating to the number of learners is not yet available for 2017. The following analysis is therefore carried out with the 2016 data. Table 5.6 highlights that nearly all, 98 per cent, of Advanced Higher entries are undertaken at school (96 per cent by S6 pupils).

Table 5.6: Advanced Higher Entries by location of student, 2016

Location of student Number of Entries % of Total Entries
School 23,224 98
Of which:    
  • S3
12 0
  • S4
56 0
  • S5
351 1
  • S6
22,805 96
Other School 282 1
FE College 117 0
Other 171 0
Total 23,794 100

Source: SQA (2017), ' Annual Statistical Report 2016 '
Note: Percentages may not sum due to rounding.

In 2016, there were 23,794 AH entries from 14,246 learners, with several learners entering more than one AH course. The majority of these entries (22,805) were S6 pupils.

Table 5.7 presents the number of entries per learner in 2016. It shows that it was most common for learners, enrolled in AH courses, to be undertaking a single AH course (52 per cent of learners). Nearly a third (31 per cent) were enrolled on two AH courses with a further 16 per cent entering three AH courses. Only around 1 per cent of learners entered four or five AH courses.

Table 5.7: Advanced Higher Entries per Learner, 2016

Number of Advanced Higher Courses Entered Number of Learners Proportion of Total Learners (%)
1 7,336 51
2 4,462 31
3 2,263 16
4 180 1
5 5 0
Total 14,246 100

Source: SQA (2017), ' Annual Statistical Report 2016 '
Note: Percentages may not sum due to rounding.

Table 5.8 presents the number of grades A to C awarded per learner in 2016. It shows that 46 per cent of those taking AH qualifications attained one AH qualification, 24 per cent attained two and around 13 per cent attained three.

Nearly 16 per cent of the total number of learners taking AH qualifications (2,242 learners) were awarded no AH's at grades A to C. However, SQA data also indicates that a similar proportion of learners sitting Higher qualifications were awarded none at grades A to C (13 per cent).

Table 5.8: Advanced Higher Attainment - Grades A to C - per Learner, 2016

Number of Grades A to C Attained Number of Learners Proportion of Total Learners (%)
0 2,242 16
1 6,602 46
2 3,457 24
3 1,783 13
4 157 1
5 5 0
Total 14,246 100

Source: SQA (2017), ' Annual Statistical Report 2016 '
Note: Percentages may not sum due to rounding.

What is the gender split for Advanced Higher entries and attainment?

Entries

The 2017 SQA Attainment Statistics shows that a higher proportion of Advanced Higher entries were from females (55 per cent) than from males (45 per cent) [28] . However, there is considerable variation in this split when we examine the data by subject. [29]

There were five subjects in 2017 where entries from females made up 75 per cent or more of the total number of entries. These were Health and Food Technology (of which 87 per cent of 38 entries were from females), Art and Design - Expressive (85 per cent of 818 entries were from females), Gàidhlig (79 per cent of 28 entries), Art and Design - Design (79 per cent of 490 entries), and French (76 per cent of 774 entries).

In 2017, there were four subjects which were dominated (75 per cent or more) by male entries - Engineering Science (of which 95 per cent of the 79 entries were male), Computing Science (of which 88 per cent of the 641 entries were male), Mathematics of Mechanics (81 per cent of 272 entries were male), and Physics (79 per cent of 1,861 entries were male).

Whilst the entries to Advanced Higher English and Maths were somewhat more balanced than the subjects listed above, there is still notable disparity between the proportion of entries that came from males versus the proportion of entries that came from female. For Maths, 63 per cent of the 3,586 entries were from males. On the other hand, for English, 72 per cent of the 2,627 entries were from females.

Attainment

The pass rate (grades A to C) in 2017 for females studying Advanced Highers is higher than the pass rate for males – 82 per cent and 77 per cent respectively. When examining the pass rates by individual subject, females were more likely to have higher pass rates than males although there are several subjects where males perform better. Interestingly, for Computing Science, Mathematics of Mechanics, and Physics – identified as being male dominated in terms of number of entries - female pass rates were higher than the pass rates for males.

How many learners start Advanced Higher qualifications in 6 th year but do not complete?

The available data only shows us those who pass (by grade) or fail. Where candidates have been entered for a qualification but were not awarded this may be for a number of reasons. For example, they may have failed the course, not turned up for the exam, been withdrawn from the course etc. The attainment data cannot be broken down to take account of each such subset.

What can be said about the current delivery of Advanced Highers in Scottish schools?

Table 5.9 shows the 2015/16 AH provision for S6 pupils in Scottish secondary schools. As of September 2015, there were a total of 351 secondary schools in Scotland with S6 provision. Based on this we can calculate the proportion of total schools offering each subject at AH level.

AH Mathematics was delivered by 90 per cent of secondary schools delivered, which is more than any other subject. Chemistry, English, Music, Biology and Physics were other popular offerings, all with over 75 per cent of secondary schools offering them for at least one pupil.

Table 5.9 also shows that there were several subjects in which less than 50 per cent of schools were delivering at AH. This included Geography (47 per cent of total schools), Modern Studies (40 per cent), Computing Science (32 per cent), Spanish (28 per cent), and German (12 per cent).

Table 5.9: S6 Advanced Higher provision in Scottish Secondary Schools 2015/16, School Leavers Cohort

Advanced Higher Subject Number of S6 entries Number of schools with S6 entries in that subject Proportion of total schools offering subject
Mathematics 2,740 313 89%
Chemistry 2,156 304 87%
English 2,008 299 85%
Music 1,513 296 84%
Biology 1,961 291 83%
Physics 1,645 273 78%
History 1,271 234 67%
Art & Design: Expressive 758 229 65%
French 543 179 51%
Art and Design: Design 482 175 50%
Geography 725 163 46%
Graphic Communication 653 149 42%
Modern Studies 695 138 39%
Computing Science 414 110 31%
Drama 440 98 28%
Spanish 360 97 28%
Business Management 232 69 20%
Physical Education 194 50 14%
German 108 42 12%
Applied Mathematics 119 38 11%
Religious, Moral & Philosophical Studies 140 35 10%
Design and Manufacture 55 23 7%
Engineering Science 59 15 4%
Chinese Languages 19 12 3%
Gàidhlig 29 12 3%
Gaelic (Learners) 21 11 3%
Health & Food Technology 22 9 3%
Accounting 23 8 2%
Classical Studies 20 7 2%
Latin 17 6 2%
Italian 8 5 1%
Economics 4 1 0%
Product Design 1 1 0%

Source: Data provided by the Scottish Government Learning Directorate.
Notes: There is a difference between the data above and the SQA S6 Advanced Higher entries (22,805). This could be due to learners attending college to do Advanced Highers (not counted here) but are presented for the exam at a school (counted as S6 by SQA).

What providers – other than schools - are delivering Advanced Highers (or equivalent level qualifications) to school pupils?

Table 5.10 shows the number of school pupils (school-college partnership students) enrolled in SCQF Level 7 qualifications in colleges. There were 815 such school pupil enrolments in 2015/16. Most of these students were studying for AH qualifications or HNC (or equivalent) qualifications but there were also a small number of school pupils studying for a Scottish Baccalaureate or SVQ: Level 3 qualification.

Table 5.10: School-College Partnership students at SCQF Level 7 by Qualification Aim, 2015/16

Qualification Aim Enrolments
Advanced Higher (Group Award)
Of which:
Age 16-17
Age 18-19
120

115
*
Highest level of study (course or unit) Advanced Higher
Of which:
Age 16-17
Age 18-19
315

305
10
HNC or Equivalent
Of which:
Age under 16
Age 16-17
Age 18-19
345

15
325
5
Scottish Baccalaureates
Of which:
Age 16-17
20

20
SVQ: Level 3
Of which:
Age under 16
Age 16-17
Age 18-19
15

*
15
*
TOTAL 815

Source: SFC analysis of school-college partnership data
Notes: * is shown where student numbers are less than five.
'Highest level of study (course or unit) Advanced Higher' differs from 'Advanced Higher (Group Award)' as it means not all units are completed in college, some provision is completed in school.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

What do we know about collaborative approaches in the current provision for senior phase pupils?

This section looks to examine two of the current collaborative approaches for senior phase provision in Scotland. It is not an exhaustive examination of all the collaborative approaches for senior phase provision.

Perth City Campus

The aim of the Perth City Campus ( PCC) project was to give senior phase pupils at the four high schools in Perth wider access to AHs, Highers, and college courses - as well as virtual learning. The PCC allows breadth of curriculum options to become more equitable across Perth City and to ensure that lower demand subjects continue to be offered. The PCC has been in place since June 2013 and is primarily available to S6 pupils.

The city campus website provides details of the courses being offered by each of the four high schools. Perth College UHI is an additional partner, also delivering courses to school pupils. Through the PCC, pupils at any of the four schools can study courses offered by another school or by the college. It would appear that the four high schools have taken a consortium approach to timetabling to allow this to take place with PCC courses delivered in columns D or E across the four schools.

Table 5.11 provides a summary of what options are currently available at each of the participating schools. It shows that there is good breadth of provision available to pupils in Perth, particularly at AH level.

Table 5.11: Perth City Campus Courses Available at Participating Schools

Perth Academy Perth High School Perth Grammar School St John's Academy
AH Computing AH Art AH Biology AH Graph Comm
AH History AH Drama AH English AH PE
AH Geography AH Maths AH Applied Maths AH Modern Studies
AH Physics AH Spanish AH Chemistry H Psychology
AH Music AH English AH Design & Manufacture H/N5 ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
N4/5 Gaelic AH Health and Food Technology AH French
Mandarin for beginners H/N5 Politics

Source: ' Perth Academy Courses '

In addition to this, Perth College offers a variety of additional options which school pupils can also select. This includes Highers in Philosophy, Photography, Musical Theatre and Beauty Therapy; Skills for Work courses in Hospitality and Retail; Nat 5 Hairdressing; HNC modules in Computing as well as an AH in Health Studies.

Aberdeen City Campus

The Aberdeen City Campus School Links project at North East Scotland College is essentially the same as the PCC in terms of its aim and set-up. It also has a consortium approach to timetabling with a common timetable in place on a Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday afternoon equalising the choice for pupils across the city. It started in the 2011/12 session. [30]

This City Campus differs from the one at Perth in the sense that it is open to pupils from all stages of the senior phase. The Perth model was designed for S6 pupils, with S5 pupils only admitted to courses in special circumstances. The breadth of provision at the Aberdeen City Campus is therefore much larger.

The Aberdeen City Campus currently offers around 15 AHs, 13 Highers, 6 Foundation Apprenticeships, a selection of National Progression Awards and Skills for Work courses, as well National 4 and 5 courses. In addition to this, Robert Gordon University offers a variety of Access to Programmes Courses such as in Access to Nursing & Midwifery or in Access to Health Professions.

What other provision is being offered in colleges for Senior Phase school pupils?

School-college partnership data shows that colleges are collaborating with schools to deliver a range of qualifications for school pupils in addition to the SCQF Level 7 provision discussed above. This is presented in Table 5.12 below. The Level 7 qualifications have been highlighted in grey.

Table 5.12: School-College Partnership students by Qualification Aim, 2015/16

Qualification Aim Enrolments
Course not leading to recognised qualification (including most non-vocational courses) 8,145
SQA Higher/Skills for Work Higher 2,975
Intermediate 1 (course or unit) 2,805
National 4's 2,470
National 5's 1,870
Intermediate 2 (course or unit) 1,605
Other Non-Advanced Certificate, Diploma or equivalent 1,400
Access Award 1,020
Any other recognised qualification 520
National Certificate modules alone 510
SVQ (Levels 1 and 2) 435
Advanced Highers 435
National 1's and 2's 355
HNC or Equivalent 345
National 3's 285
HN Units 135
NVQ's (Levels 1, 2 and 3) 40
Scottish Baccalaureates 20
SVQ: Level 3 15
Other 15
TOTAL 25,400

Source: SFC analysis of school-college partnership data.
'Other' includes ' GSVQ/ GNVQ:Level 3 qualifications', 'blank', ' SVQ or NVQ Level 5' and 'Other SCE/ GCE/ GCSE examination only'.
'Highest level of study (course or unit) Advanced Higher' and 'Advanced Higher (Group Award)' have been combined in this table by qualification aim.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

Table 5.12 shows the wide range of qualifications being delivered by colleges to school pupils with a total of 25,400 school-college partnership enrolments. This breadth in provision shows that schools and colleges are working in partnership to deliver qualifications for many different cohorts of school pupils.

The qualification aim with the largest number of enrolments, 8,145, is for courses not leading to recognised qualifications. Work undertaken by SG analysts in 2016, as part of the DYW programme, identified that some colleges were offering subject tasters, short courses, and sessions on employability topics for school pupils. This type of provision is likely to be reflected here.

Table 5.12 shows that there were a greater number of school-college partnership enrolments in Higher, Intermediate 1 & 2, National 4 and National 5 qualifications than there were in Advanced Higher qualifications. The work, mentioned above, which was undertaken by analysts as part of DYW would suggest that this is likely to be a reflection of the demand from schools for particular, popular courses – such as Higher Psychology - to be delivered by colleges on their behalf. This work also found that colleges are sometimes providing Highers and National qualifications, on the behalf of schools, to compensate for a lack of teachers in particular subjects – providing computing qualifications due to a lack of computing teachers was an example provided by one of the case study colleges spoken to.

What provision is being offered by universities for school pupils?

This section looks to examine three of the offers for school pupils made by universities in Scotland. It is not an exhaustive examination of all the university provision for school pupils.

Queen Margaret University Academies

Queen Margaret University currently deliver an academies project (the South East Scotland Academies Partnership ( SESAP)) which presents senior school pupils from a range of schools in East Lothian, Midlothian, City of Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders with opportunities for skills, educational and career development. The academies help pupils move seamlessly from school to college, university, or directly into employment. [31]

The project is composed of three separate academies. These are detailed in Table 5.13 below.

Table 5.13: QMU Academies Provision

Academy Name About/Qualifications Studied Entry Requirements
Creative Industries Academy Provides the knowledge and relevant work experience needed for work in areas such as TV, film or visual and performing arts.

Students may have the opportunity to obtain a NPA in Film and Media or a NPA in Acting and Performance and Professional Theatre Preparation
Students will require National 5 English at grade C or above and ideally be working towards Higher English.
Health and Social Care Academy Provides the knowledge and skills needed for work in health and social care.

Students will also develop many transferable and work related skills.
No entry requirements.
Hospitality and Tourism Academy Provides the knowledge and relevant work experience needed for work in hotel or restaurant management, customer services, marketing and public relations, or events organisation and management. Students need to be studying for a minimum of 1 Higher in any subject to be eligible for this Academy

Source: ' South East Scotland Academies Partnership'
Open University: Young Applicants in Schools ( YASS)

YASS gives S6 students in Scotland the opportunity to study a range of university level modules in school alongside their other studies. It is designed to bridge the gap between school and university, college, or employment. It encourages independent learning and builds confidence [32] .

Open University modules through YASS are offered in a wide variety of subject areas including science, engineering, business studies, health and social care, IT and computing, arts, mathematics, and languages. Each module through YASS is at SCQF Level 7 which is equivalent to first year of university study.

The initiative was developed in partnership with Highland Council in 2007/08 and has grown substantially since. Chart 5.2 shows YASS provision in Scotland at November 2017.

Currently, YASS qualifications are not formally recognised as entry qualifications by HEIs however they can be included as part of the UCAS application form as 'other qualifications' or in the applicants personal statement. For example, the University of Edinburgh have stated on their website that they will recognise YASS as a 'other qualification' but won't recognise it as a formal qualification.

Chart 5.2: YASS Provision in Scotland, November 2017
Chart 5.2: YASS Provision in Scotland, November 2017
Source: ' Open University: Young Applicants in Schools '

GCU's Advanced Higher Hub

Glasgow Caledonian University ( GCU) have an on-campus centre (the Advanced Higher Hub) which delivers Advanced Higher programmes to pupils from targeted Glasgow secondary schools (those with the lowest progression rates to HE) as part of the University's commitment to widening access to Higher Education. Academic year 2017/18 is the fifth year of operation of the Advanced Higher Hub. The information provided below relates to academic year 2016/17 for which we have the full range of statistics.

In 2016/17, the Hub delivered Advanced Highers to school pupils in the following subjects:

  • Maths
  • English
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics (new for 2016/17)
  • History
  • Modern Studies
  • Business Management.

Table 5.14 below provides a statistical overview of Hub for the four years from 2013/14. Over this period the number of partner schools engaged with the Hub has increased from 18 at the end of 2013/14 to 28 by 2016/17. The number of SQA presentations from Hub pupils has also increased over this period from 110 in 2013/14 to 145 in 2016/17 (around a 29 per cent increase). The pass rate has also been higher than the national average for the same Advanced Highers for each of the last 3 years.

The proportion of pupils from SIMD 40 has consistently remained higher than two thirds of total pupils in each of these four years. In the most recent year, 2016/17, 68 per cent of Hub pupils were from SIMD 40 backgrounds.

Table 5.14: Statistical Overview of the GCU AH Hub 2013/14 to 2016/17

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
Pupil Numbers – Start of Year 105 155 150 115
Pupil Numbers – End of Year 95 140 140 105
% within SIMD 20 (Q1 - most deprived) 61% 56% 50% 53%
% within SIMD 40 (Q2) 10% 16% 22% 14%
SQA Presentations at SCQF 7 110 165 170 145
SQA Examination Pass rate – GCU Hub 74% 91% 91% 92%
SQA Examination Pass rate – National Average for same AHs 78% 81% 82% 79%
Partner Schools – End of Year 18 20 28 28
Average Retention Rate 92% 90%

Source: GCU Advanced Higher Hub Statistics
Pupil number and SQA presentation figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.
The Advanced Higher Hub also supports the Curriculum for Excellence and the widening access priorities of the Scottish Government and SFC in a number of key areas:

  • SIMD – In 2016/17, 53 per cent of entrants were from SIMD 20 backgrounds, and 68 per cent from SIMD 40 backgrounds.
  • Retention – the average retention rate in 2016/17 was 90 per cent and the average attendance rate was 94%.
  • Attainment – In 2016/17, Hub pupils achieved a pass rate of 92 per cent. This compares with a national pass rate for the same Advanced Higher subjects of 79 per cent. Furthermore, 34 per cent of Advanced Higher Hub pupils achieved A grades with an additional 34 per cent achieving B grades.
  • Progression to University – In the first three years of the Hub, an average of 90 per cent of pupils progressed to University. They report that their experience had directly supported their attainment, progression and retention in first year of HE. Research has indicated that the young people accessing the Hub are not only more confident with the transition to HE but are also potentially considering entry into Year 2.
  • Benefit for Schools – The Hub supports schools with smaller rolls to complement Advanced Higher provision; provides greater timetabling flexibility for pupils and teachers; reduces the requirement for consortium arrangements and associate timetabling and transport arrangements; and helps to reduce possible bi-level and tri-level teaching across Senior Phase timetables.
  • Sector Benefits – The University sector in Scotland benefits holistically from the Hub as it allows young people to progress onto high tariff degree courses across the sector, having also gained foundation skills via the rigor of Advanced Higher study.

What is the UCAS application cycle?

UCAS operates the application process for British universities. Chart 5.3 provides details of the key dates associated with the 2017 application cycle. The deadline for the majority of courses is January 2018 although those applying for Oxbridge, medicine, veterinary and dentistry have an earlier deadline of October 2017. Universities are required to make decisions and give offers to applicants by the end of March 2018.

Chart 5.3: Key dates for 2017 UCAS Application Cycle
Chart 5.3: Key dates for 2017 UCAS Application Cycle
Source: ' UCAS key dates'
Notes: The dates presented here are only the key dates in the UCAS application cycle. There are additional dates not shown here.

What does the UCAS application cycle mean for applicants from school?

Scottish S6 pupils that are hoping to go to university in September 2018, following finishing school in May/June 2018, would be required to submit their application to UCAS by mid-January 2018. This deadline is around half-way through the school year.

Universities are not required to provide offers to applicants until March. Therefore S6 pupils may not know if they have been offered a place/received an unconditional offer in many cases until they have completed the majority of their S6 studies.

How many learners are currently commencing their undergraduate studies from Year 2?

Table 5.15 shows the number, and proportion, of entrants to first degree courses by the year they commenced their studies at. For the most recent year, 2015/16, 81.6 per cent of Scottish Domicile entrants to first degree programmes at Scottish HEIs commenced their studies at Year 1. A further 8.2 per cent entered at Year 2 with 9.6 per cent commencing their studies at Year 3. We would assume those entering at Year 3 to primarily be articulating students from HNC/D programmes.

Table 5.15: Entrants to first degree courses by year of entry, 2015/16

  1 st Year, pre-year or NA 2 nd Year 3 rd Year 4 th Year Total
Number of entrants 28,240 2,830 3,325 205 34,600
Proportion of total entrants (%) 81.6 8.2 9.6 0.6 n/a

Source: Scottish Government analysis of HESA Student Data
Population = Scots domiciled, first degree, entrants, Scottish HEIs.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. Totals calculated on unrounded figures.
Number of entrants includes male, female and other.

What is the gender split for entrants to first degree courses, by year of entry?

Table 5.16 considers entrants to first degree courses by year of entry and gender. It shows that in 2015/16 a higher proportion of entrants to first degree courses were female (59.2 per cent) than male (40.7 per cent).

When breaking these figures down for each year of entry we find that a higher proportion of males enter at 3 rd and 4 th year than the proportion that are females. 61.7 per cent of entrants at 4 th year were male compared to 38.3 per cent that were female. However, it is worth noting that 4 th year entrants make up a small proportion (0.6 per cent) of total entrants.

Table 5.16: Entrants to first degree courses by year of entry and gender, 2015/16

1 st Year, pre-year or NA 2 nd Year 3 rd Year 4 th Year Total
Male entrants 11,030 1,235 1,705 125 14,100
Female entrants 17,195 1,595 1,615 80 20,485
Total entrants 28,240 2,830 3,325 205 34,600
Proportion of males for each entry year (%) 31.9 43.6 51.3 61.7 40.7
Proportion of females for each entry year (%) 60.9 56.4 48.7 38.3 59.2

Source: Scottish Government analysis of HESA Student Data
Population = Scots domiciled, first degree, entrants, Scottish HEIs.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. Totals calculated on unrounded figures.
Number of entrants includes male, female and other.

How many school leavers are currently commencing their studies from Year 2?

Breaking down the same data, by age, can provide us with an indication of the number of school leavers commencing their studies at Year 2. This is shown in Table 5.17.

Table 5.17: School Leavers (those aged 16,17 and 18) to first degree courses by year of entry, 2015/16

1 st Year, pre-year or NA 2 nd Year 3 rd Year 4 th Year Total
Number of entrants 13,320 195 0 0 13,515
Proportion of total entrants (%) 98.6 1.4 0 0 n/a

Source: Scottish Government analysis of HESA Student Data
Population = Scots domiciled, first degree, entrants, Scottish HEIs.
Age as at 28 th February, in the middle of entry year (to align with school year).
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. Totals calculated on unrounded figures.

The evidence would suggest that almost all school leavers enter university at Year 1 with only 1.4 per cent of all sixteen, seventeen and eighteen year olds commencing undergraduate studies entering at Year 2.

Table 5.18 breaks down the data further to show the differences across ages. Those aged 16 are representative of S4 leavers, 17 year olds representative of S5 leavers, and 18 year olds representative of S6 leavers. As we might expect, no 16 year olds commenced their degree at a later stage than Year 1. Only 1.4 per cent of the total entrants aged 17 entered at Year 2 with around the same proportion of total entrants aged 18 entering at Year 2.

Table 5.18: Entrants to first degree courses by age and year of entry, 2015/16

Age at 28 Feb 1 st Year, pre-year or NA 2 nd Year 3 rd Year 4 th Year Total
16 10 0 0 0 10
17 365 5 0 0 370
18 12,945 190 0 0 13,135
Total 13,320 195 0 0 13,505

Source: Scottish Government analysis of HESA Student Data
Population = Scots domiciled, first degree, entrants, Scottish HEIs.
Age as at 28 th February, in the middle of entry year (to align with school year).
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. Totals calculated on unrounded figures.

How many learners receive an unconditional offer for University in 6 th year?

For individuals applying to enter university in the 2015/16 academic year (or later if they defer a year) UCAS data shows us that for those with SQA qualifications, 57.5 per cent of those who are 18 received at least one unconditional offer as illustrated on Chart 5.4. Age 18 is a term used by UCAS to capture all applicants who applied from a certain school cohort – effectively someone who applied to UCAS in 6 th year or equivalent. It should also be noted that this chart excludes individuals who have received no unconditional or conditional offers.

By age 19 (applying the year after they left school or equivalent), this has risen to 60.2 per cent.

Chart 5.4: Proportion of UK offer holders that received at least one offer recorded as unconditional, by age and qualifications held (2015 cycle)
Chart 5.4: Proportion of UK offer holders that received at least one offer recorded as unconditional, by age and qualifications held (2015 cycle)

Source: UCAS (December 2015), ' UCAS End of Cycle Report 2015 '

How do outcomes vary for individuals depending on their route into University?

Scottish Government analysts have undertaken initial draft analysis of the HESA data set to track a cohort of individuals through their first degree. Five groups were examined. These individuals are all Scottish Domiciles and full-time and started studying for a four year first degree in 2011/12:

  • Entry into first year and aged 17 and under (those typically from S5).
  • Entry into first year and aged 18 (those typically from S6).
  • Entry into first year and aged under 20.
  • Articulation with advanced standing or advanced progression and aged under 20.
  • Direct entry to second or third year university from School.

Across all groups examined nearly 90 per cent of entrants to Year 1 continue to Year 2, with 2 per cent repeating Year 1. Of those aged 17 and under 61 per cent complete their degree in 4 th year (and remain full-time throughout). This compares to 67 per cent for those aged 18. Looking at those who qualify within five years (including lower qualifications than anticipated) it rises to 75 per cent and 77 per cent respectively. These numbers will be higher when we include those who switched to part-time or took a 'gap-year'.

Table 5.19 looks at the level of classification awarded to each of these groups. This highlights that those articulating from college receive the lowest levels of qualification. Analysis by SIMD is underway to understand a bit more about this trend.

Table 5.19: Qualifier rates for full-time first degree Scottish domiciled at Scottish HEI from 2011-12 entrants, entering a four year course and graduating at any point within five years

  Aged 17 and under Aged 18 Under 20 Articulation College School to 2 nd/3 rd year
First class honours 20.9 18.5 18.6 10.9 21.6
Upper second class honours 46.6 55.2 54.4 38.3 51.4
Lower second class honours 15.5 15.7 15.8 28.1 13.5
Third class honours/Pass 3.4 1.4 1.5 3.1 4.5
Unclassified 10.7 5.9 6.2 18.8 5.4
Classification not applicable 2.9 3.4 3.4 0.8 2.7

Source: Initial Scottish Government analysis of HESA statistics
Note: small cohorts of people for articulation, school to 2 nd/3 rd year and aged 17 years and under categories.
*Age taken at 28 th February to best match School year.


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