A record proportion of Scottish school leavers are finding jobs, training or continuing in education, according to official figures published today.
The statistics show that those reaching “positive destinations” – as the jargon has it – jumped from 90.4 per cent to 91.7 per cent in a year. The proportion of looked-after children in positive destinations nine months after leaving school also increased, from 67 per cent to 73 per cent in two years.
Meanwhile, school leavers landing a qualification at Higher or above increased from 55.8 per cent in 2012-13 to 58.8 per cent in 2013-14, and the number of pupils registered for free school meals has more than doubled to around 259,000 since a national policy removed charges for P1-3s in January.
EIS union general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “The statistics provide welcome confirmation – contrary to recent, largely uninformed, chatter from some politicians and certain parts of the media – that attainment levels continue to improve and that overall levels of attainment in both literacy and numeracy remain very high.”
He added: “Poverty continues to have a negative impact on the education and life chances of too many young people across Scotland, and the attainment gap between Scotland’s most and least deprived pupils continues to be a huge challenge that society must tackle.”
Some “very positive” measures were already being taken, he said, including extension of free meals and the launch of the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the Scottish Attainment Fund, but more investment in schools, resources and staffing was essential.