1. National Statistics Publication
This is a National Statistics Publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
These statistics undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. This publication has been assessed by the UK Statistics Authority.
2. Sources and Methodology
Information on National Qualifications are obtained from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) is used as the basis for reporting attainment. The SCQF levels are shown below for information.
|Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels:|
|Level 7||Advanced Higher at A-C|
|Level 6||Higher at A-C|
|Level 5||Intermediate 2 at A-C; National 5 at A-C; Standard Grade (Credit)|
|Level 4||Intermediate 1 at A-C; National 4; Standard Grade (General)|
|Level 3||Access 3; National 3; Standard Grade (Foundation)|
|Level 2||Access 2; National 2|
The current leavers will have taken a range of qualifications, some may have taken the new National qualifications introduced in the 2013/14 academic year, but the majority will have taken the qualifications currently being phased out. Only 2013/14 S4 leavers and 2014/15 S4 and S5 leavers may have experienced CfE throughout their school education.
The development of Insight, a professional benchmarking tool used by local authorities and schools, has led to some changes in the data we receive and the methodology for the school leaver attainment data. Insight only focuses on Senior Phase attainment (S4 to S6) whereas attainment at any stage is included in this publication where possible. Attainment data used to calculate school leaver attainment is now only available from 2005/06 on a consistent basis, meaning any attainment for previous leaver cohorts which pre-dates 2005/06 (i.e. in early stages of secondary school) may be missing.
The attainment data is based on the result date of learners' qualifications (as is used in Insight but different from previous attainment data which was based on completion date). In some cases, this may lead to attainment being reported in a different academic year than had previously been the case, or as reported by SQA. There is also the possibility of a small number of awards being excluded if a review is successful after a pupil has left. Only attainment data for candidates with a Scottish Candidate Number in the pupil census that year is received.
This publication now uses the 'latest and best' approach for attainment data. This means that only the best result within a subject is counted, where a grade A to C (or ungraded pass) is considered a pass. For example, if a pupil passes Higher mathematics and Advanced Higher mathematics the following year, only the Advanced Higher qualification will be counted when looking at how many qualifications at any level that leaver has achieved by the time they left school. Also if someone attains a D at a certain level this is not counted as achieving that level. For example, if you attain a D at SCQF level 5 in a certain subject this would be counted as attaining at SCQF level 4 or better for that subject and not at SCQF level 5 or better. Furthermore, D's were previously not included as a pass and we have continued with this definition (although Insight includes a grade D as an award at that level in certain tables).
Information on the destination of leavers from publicly funded schools was provided to the Scottish Government by Skills Development Scotland (SDS). SDS collected information on the destination of each young person they had identified as being a school leaver during September 2015 (initial destination) and March 2016 (follow-up destination).
The initial destinations data provide information on the outcomes for young people approximately three months after leaving school while the follow-up survey provides information on the outcomes of young people approximately nine months after leaving school, if pupils stay to the end of the academic year. These collections should be seen as complementary to one another but it should be noted that various factors may affect the results at different time periods. The initial destinations data is no longer published in a separate publication, but is combined within this publication. Leaver destination information shown within Insight is based on initial destination data and only covers S4 to S6 secondary school leavers.
A school leaver is classed as a young person of school leaving age who left school during or at the end of the school year, where the school year is taken to run from school census day one year to the day before census day the following year, where census day is the third Wednesday in September. Therefore for 2014/15 leavers, the leaver year is 23rd September 2014 to 15 th September 2015. (The school leaver definition was previously 1 st August to 31 st July.) Due to this change in school leaver year, the 2013/14 cohort was revised to include any pupils who left between 31 st July 2014 and 22nd September 2014. This change resulted in about 1,300 more school leavers being added to this cohort.
The age of school leavers was calculated as of 30 th June 2015.
2.3 Follow - up destination
As the follow-up rate has continually been very high in recent years, missing data is no longer estimated for those leavers not contacted in March. This approach has been adopted for 2009/10 data onwards. This is a slight methodological change to information in 2008/09 and for years previous to this, where those who were not contacted during March had their destinations imputed, and is the result of the improved follow-up rate. Instead of imputing a destination for those who were not followed up, we have agreed to use the most up to date information that SDS hold on these leavers.
SDS adopted a hybrid approach to the school leaver follow-up process for 2012/13 leavers onwards, using a combination of administrative data shared by partners, contact centre follow-up and the traditional follow-up by operational staff. Previously the follow-up process predominantly relied on operational staff.
2.4 Healthy Living Survey
The information comes from the latest Healthy Living Survey conducted in February 2016 for all publicly funded schools in Scotland. This survey was conducted in the week commencing 22nd February 2016. In 2013, the collection was rescheduled to the first week of March due to the publicity around the possible presence of horse meat in school meals. This was to ensure that the data produced was as representative of a usual school day as possible. For more information on this survey and for a detailed breakdown at local authority and school level, please refer to our supplementary data tables.
3. Definitions and Data Quality
For further information on our quality assurance process, see
the School Education statistics 'Validation Process' section on the
Scottish Government website at:
3.1 Attainment and school leaver data matching
For the 2013/14 school leaver cohort, the leaver matching methodology was updated. This updated methodology has been adopted for the 2014/15 cohort, and data back to 2009/10 leavers has been produced on a consistent basis. Previously the information supplied by SDS was taken as the primary information and the characteristics information from the pupil census was matched to this. Now the pupil census is taken as the primary information. This leads to small differences between the leavers data published here and the SDS leavers data. These include:
- Only leavers with a match to the pupil census in their last year of attendance at school are included. For example, a leaver needs to have a record in the 2014 pupil census to be included in the 2014/15 leavers cohort.
- If a pupil appears in the SDS leavers data but can only be matched to the census two years prior to leaving then they are recorded in the leaver cohort closest to their last pupil census record. For example, if they are recorded in the 2014/15 SDS leavers data and they have a 2013 census record but not a 2014 record, then they will be recorded in the 2013/14 leaver cohort.
- The school which is recorded in the pupil census is taken to be the school for that leaver. If this differs from the school recorded by SDS and they are not both the same school type (i.e. one is a special school and one is a secondary school) then this can affect who is included in the leaver cohort.
- If someone who is recorded by SDS as being a school leaver then re-appears in the pupil census, they are removed from the leaver cohort for that year.
Data for 2009/10 to 2014/15 has been linked using this updated methodology and supersedes previously published figures for these years. This data is not directly comparable with data prior to 2009/10, and caution should be exercised when making comparisons with data prepared using the previous method.
All matching is done within certain constraints:
- Pupil Census record must be in S3 or above, SP (Special School), or AD (Adult Learner) in order to be included.
- School attended must be the main school attended by the pupil.
After being matched to the Pupil Census the data were then matched to the SQA attainment data using the SCN.
3.2 Leaver Destination
All destinations are based on self-reporting by school leavers or administrative data. The following categories for leaver destinations are included in this Statistical Bulletin.
3.2.1 Positive destination: includes higher education, further education, training, voluntary work, employment and activity agreements.
3.2.2 Higher Education: includes leavers following HND (Higher National Diploma) or HNC (Higher National Certificate) courses, degree courses, courses for the education and training of teachers and higher level courses for professional qualifications. It also includes programmes at a level higher than the standard of the National Qualifications, i.e. above SCQF level 7. Leavers with a deferred, unconditional place in higher education have also been included in this category.
3.2.3 Further Education: includes leavers undertaking full-time education which is not higher education and who are no longer on a school roll. This may include National Qualifications.
3.2.4 Training: includes leavers who are on a training course and in receipt of an allowance or grant, such as the Employability Fund national training programme. It also includes leavers who are on local authority or third sector funded training programmes who are in receipt of a training allowance.
3.2.5 Employment: includes those who are employed and in receipt of payment from their employers. It includes young people undertaking training in employment through national training programmes such as Modern Apprenticeships.
3.2.6 Voluntary Work : includes those undertaking voluntary work, with or without financial allowance, who are not 'unemployed and actively seeking', as per the unemployed definition and those participating in Project Scotland/CSV or other voluntary programmes.
3.2.7 Activity Agreements: includes those for whom there is an agreement between a young person and a trusted professional that the young person will take part in a programme of learning and activity which helps them become ready for formal learning or employment.
3.2.8 Unemployed and seeking employment or training: includes those who are registered with Skills Development Scotland and are known by them to be seeking employment or training. This is based on regular contact between Skills Development Scotland and the client. This does not refer to the definition of 'unemployed' used by the Department of Work and Pensions to calculate published unemployment rates. Young people participating in Personal Skills Development (see below) who do not fit in any of the existing categories are counted in this category
3.2.9 Unemployed and not seeking employment or training: includes all those individuals who are not seeking employment or training for a range of reasons. The reasons may involve sickness, prison, pregnancy, caring for children or other dependents or taking time out.
3.2.10 Unknown: includes all leavers whose destination is not known either to Skills Development Scotland or to the school attended.
Destination unknown (both surveys): includes individuals who were not able to be contacted at either the September or the March/April survey point.
NB: categories 3.2.8 and 3.2.9 are comparable to the single 'other known destination' category from publications prior to 2002/03.
3.3 School Meals
3.3.1 Pupils entitled to free school meals are those within families who receive Income Support (IS) or Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (IBJSA). Those within families who receive support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 may also be entitled. Children whose parents or carers receive Child Tax Credit, do not receive Working Tax Credit and had an annual income (as assessed by the Inland Revenue) of below £16,010 (from April 2013) were also entitled. Children whose parent/s or carer/s are in receipt of both maximum child tax credit and maximum working tax credit are also entitled. Young people in school education who receive any of these benefits in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals. From January 2015 eligibility to free school meals was extended to all pupils in P1-P3.
3.3.2 A trial took place in five local authorities (East Ayrshire, Fife, Glasgow, Scottish Borders and West Dunbartonshire) in 2007/08 where all P1-P3 pupils were provided with free school meals. Uptake rates in the trial authorities among P1-P3 pupils increased from 53 per cent to 75 per cent and among all primary pupils from 50 per cent to 60 per cent during the trial  . This had a noticeable effect, in 2007/08, on the national uptake rates, both for primary and overall, as calculated through the School Meals Survey. In 2007/08, the national uptake rate was 47.1 per cent, however when trial authorities were excluded the rate decreased to 45.1 per cent. Similarly, in 2007/08, the uptake rate in Primary schools was 49.6 per cent when trial authorities were included but decreased to 46.4 per cent when trial authorities were excluded. The difference in uptake rates in the years following the trial was less pronounced.
3.3.3 In August 2010, local initiatives were introduced in most local authority areas to increase eligibility for free school meals among pupils in the first three years of primary school. These initiatives were aimed at promoting healthy eating in early years and vary by local authority. Examples of these initiatives include increasing free school meal eligibility to cover all primary one pupils or all P1-P3 pupils in selected schools. Many of the pupils who were eligible and receiving free school meals under these local initiatives would not have been entitled under national eligibility criteria. Therefore, while the data from 2011-2014 provided an accurate measure of the number of pupils who were able to receive free school meals, this did not result in a comparable measure of deprivation, either over time or between local authorities, due to the differing eligibility criteria which in some cases are not related to deprivation. As all P1-P3 pupils now receive free school meals, overall primary level data can no longer be used as a measure of deprivation.
3.3.4 One local authority, Falkirk, provided information on pupils registered for free school meals in 2011 under national eligibility only. This is not considered to have had a significant effect on the overall findings of the survey. The extent to which free school meals registrations for local authorities have changed from previous years data will depend on whether local initiatives were introduced and the scope of them.
3.3.5 Between 2012 and 2014, in order to provide school level data on free school meal registrations for primary that can be used as a measure of deprivation, estimates of national eligibility were produced. These estimates were calculated using information on local initiatives and levels of free school meal registrations in 2010. They are available at local authority and school level in supplementary data tables.
3.3.6 Some of the figures originally published on percentage uptake in 2015 were amended in June 2016 after a processing error relating to the number of P1-P3 pupils present was discovered in 9 schools in North Lanarkshire. This impacted on the percentage uptake figures for P1-P3, all primary and all sectors combined.
3.3.7 Since 5 January 2015 when the extension of free school meals for all P1-P3 pupils was launched, local authorities have had the power to provide free school meals through local initiatives rather than through national entitlement criteria. In 2015 and 2016 there were a small number of secondary school pupils registered for free school meals through a local initiative.
3.4 Physical Education
3.4.1 Physical Education must be during curriculum time and either taught or led by a GTCS registered class or PE specialist teacher. It includes certificated and non-certificated PE. It includes, for example, dance, but does not include walking to school, drama, etc. The guidance for the Healthy Living Survey was improved by way of clarifying what a school must do to meet the Physical Education target. This improvement in the data collection methodology may have resulted in a reduction in schools meeting the target.
4. UK Comparisons
Scotland has a different set of qualifications to the rest of the UK and comparisons cannot be made directly. In order to compare attainment between UK countries we recommend using the results of the OECD PISA survey.
The information presented here is for young people who have left school, while in England and Wales information is collected on 16-19 year olds who are not in education, employment or training. As a result direct comparisons cannot be made.
4.3 Free school meals
There are a number of differences in the eligibility criteria for free school meals across the UK including the local healthy eating initiatives in some local authorities in Scotland which mean that the data is not comparable.
5. List of supplementary tables
5.1 A large number of additional tables are produced in Excel on or after the publication date and are published on the Scottish Government website.
5.2 Supplementary tables on attainment and school leaver destination are available including breakdowns by: characteristics of leavers; local authority; additional support needs; stage of leaving; and subject. There will also be information on staying on rates of secondary pupils, and information on attainment and leaver destinations of those from special schools.
5.3 Supplementary tables on attainment and leaver destinations are available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/leavedestla/follleavedestat
|School Leaver Destinations|
|Table L1.1. Staying on rates in publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland, 2000/01 to 2015/16||22/6/2016|
|Table L1.2. Percentage of school leavers from publicly funded schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category: 2006/07 to 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L1.3. Percentage of school leavers from publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and gender: 2009/10 to 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L1.4. Percentage of school leavers from publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and 6-fold urban/rural classification of school, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L1.5. Percentage of school leavers from publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and 2012 SIMD Decile, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L1.6. Percentage of school leavers from publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and Additional Support Needs, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L1.7. Percentage of school leavers from publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and ethnic background, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L1.8. Percentage of school leavers from publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and national identity, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L1.9. Percentage of school leavers from publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland by follow-up destination category and whether declared or assessed disabled, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L2.1. Percentage of school leavers by follow-up destination and Local Authority: 2009/10 to 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L2.2. Number of school leavers by follow-up destination and Local Authority: 2009/10 to 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table L3.1. Percentage of secondary and special school leavers from publicly funded schools in Scotland by reason for support and initial destination category, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table A1.1. Percentage of school leavers by highest SCQF level at which one or more passes were achieved, by SIMD decile, 2009/10 to 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table A1.2. Attainment of secondary school leavers by highest SCQF level achieved in each subject, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table A1.3. Percentage of 2014/15 secondary and special school leavers from publicly funded schools attaining vocational qualifications* at SCQF level 2 to 7, by local authority||22/6/2016|
|Table A2.1. Percentage of school leavers by highest SCQF level at which one or more passes were achieved, by local authority, 2009/10 to 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table A2.2 Qualifications attained by school leavers by SCQF level, by local authority, 2009/10 to 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table A3.1. Highest qualifications attained by leavers with additional support needs from secondary and special schools, by ASN, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
|Table A3.2. Qualifications attained by leavers from secondary and special schools with additional support needs, ASN, 2014/15||22/6/2016|
5.4 The following supplementary tables on school meals and Physical Education are available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/MealsSD/mealspesd
|Table 1: Pupils registered for free school meals by sector, 2006 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 2: Registered pupils taking free school meals by sector, 2006 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 3: Pupils taking school meals (free or paid for) by sector, 2003 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 4a: Number of pupils taking school meals (free or paid for) by size of school, publicly funded primary schools, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 4b: Number of pupils taking school meals (free or paid for) by size of school, publicly funded secondary schools, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 5: Percentage of pupils taking school meals (free or paid for) by urban/rural indicator of school, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 6: Percentage of pupils taking meals (free or paid for) by rate of free school meal registration (deprivation indicator), 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 7: Number of primary school pupils registered and taking free school meals, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 8: Percentage of primary school pupils registered and taking free school meals, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 9: Number and percentage of primary school pupils taking school meals (free or paid for), 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 10: Percentage of primary school pupils registered for free school meals, 2006 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 11: Percentage of primary school pupils registered for free school meals and present, taking free school meals, 2006 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 12: Percentage of primary school pupils present taking school meals (free or paid for), 2003 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 13: Number of secondary school pupils registered and taking free school meals, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 14: Percentage of secondary school pupils registered and taking free school meals, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 15: Number and percentage of secondary school pupils taking school meals (free or paid for), 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 16: Percentage of secondary school pupils registered for free school meals, 2006 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 17: Percentage of secondary school pupils registered for free school meals and present, taking free school meals, 2006 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 18: Percentage of secondary school pupils present taking school meals (free or paid for), 2003 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 19: Number of special school pupils registered and taking free school meals, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 20: Percentage of special school pupils registered and taking free school meals, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 21: Number and percentage of special school pupils taking school meals (free or paid for), 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 22: Primary schools meeting PE target by rural/urban classification, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 23: Secondary schools meeting PE target by rural/urban classification, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 24: Primary schools and pupils meeting PE target by school size, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 25: Secondary schools and pupils meeting PE target by school size, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 26: Percentage of schools meeting PE target by local authority, 2012 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 27: Primary schools meeting PE target by Local authority, 2012 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 28: Secondary schools meeting PE target by Local authority, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Chart 1: Percentage registered for free school meals, 2006 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Chart 2: Percentage of those registered who take free school meals, 2006 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Chart 3: Percentage of pupils present taking school meals (free or paid for), 2003 to 2016||22/6/2016|
|Chart 4: Percentage of pupils present taking school meals, 2016||22/6/2016|
|Table 29: Physical Education provision and other school variables, 2016||22/6/2016|
5.5 School level data on school meals is available at:
6. Additional Support Needs
6.1 An Additional Support Need (ASN) is recorded where a pupil is receiving any form of additional support for learning, this could be for a wide variety of reasons, duration and of any type. The different types of support provided include Co-ordinated Support Plans (CSP) and Individualised Educational Programmes (IEP) as well as disabilities, Child Plans and other plans. Under previous legislation a pupil may have been categorised as having a Record of Need (RoN).
7. Developing Scotland's Young Workforce
7.1 The Scottish Government established the independent Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce, led by Sir Ian Wood, in January 2013. Its remit was to explore how we might develop a modern, responsive and valued system for vocational training and emulate the labour markets of the best performing European countries. More information on the Developing Scotland's Young Workforce strategy is available here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2014/12/7750. Although this publication focusses on attainment in the National Courses, within the supplementary tables, 'Table A1.3 Percentage of 2014/15 secondary and special school leavers from publicly funded schools attaining vocational qualifications* at SCQF level 2 to 7, by local authority' looks at attainment in vocational qualifications.
8.1 Attainment There is no additional cost to SQA to supply the attainment data.
8.2 Leavers The approximate cost (salary including NI & pension) to Skills Development Scotland of collecting information for 2013/14 leaver cohort was £383,872. This translated to approximately £7.38 per leaver over both initial and follow-up surveys. As part of the overall approach for managing customers the follow-up of school leavers has become established as business as usual for Skills Development Scotland. Unlike previous years where two dedicated exercises were undertaken and therefore cost information provided, the follow-up of customers is an ongoing process and from 2014/15 such costs are embedded within the daily operations of Skills Development Scotland.
8.3 Healthy Living The estimated cost to local authorities, based on staff time only, of providing the Scottish Government with the Healthy Living Survey data in 2016 was £5,000.
Copies of this publication are available on the Scottish Government's website at: http://www.gov.scot/stats/bulletins/01225