The gap between pupils from the most and least deprived areas who go on to university, college or a job after school has closed by over a fifth in one year, new figures show.
The proportion of 2016/17 school leavers from the most deprived areas in a positive destination nine months after leaving school increased to 87.6% – reducing the gap with school leavers from the least deprived areas.
The percentage of looked after children achieving at least SCQF level 5 (Higher or equivalent) has demonstrated a whopping increase from 15% in 2009/10 to 44% in 2016/17.
It comes as a suite of new figures also show improved attainment by children in literacy and numeracy over the last four years; a record 19.3% of young people leaving school with an Advanced Higher pass as opposed to 17.6% in 2012/13; and a narrowing of the attainment gap between looked after children and all school leavers from 62% in 2009/10 to 42% in 2016/17.
Local authority spending on education in 2017-18 was 3.2% higher than 2016-17. Local authority education budgets for 2018-19 is 3.8% higher than 2017-18.
Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney MSP said:
“These figures are indicative of a high performing education system, which is testament to the efforts of our teachers, our school staff and our education leaders to give every child the opportunity to fulfil their full potential in life.
“Already the action of this Government is delivering real improvement in our schools, and implementation of reforms to empower schools and school leaders will accelerate this.
“I’m particularly pleased to see an increasing proportion of looked after children leaving school with at least a Higher or equivalent, but clearly the gap is still too wide.
“The findings of the independent Care Review and this Government’s £750 million investment through the Scottish Attainment Challenge will, I believe, see us make even more progress in closing the poverty-related attainment gap in years to come.”
Kenneth Gibson added:
“It is no secret that helping young people achieve educational and professional goals and minimising the attainment gap are key issues for the SNP and I am proud to say that our flagship policies on this front are proving effective.
“Much credit of course goes to front line teaching staff, who tirelessly work day in day out to motive pupils and help them achieve their best.
“We have a record 92.9% of young people are now in a positive destination nine months after leaving school, a record 38.3% of school leavers in higher education nine months after leaving school and a record 29.9% of school leavers with 5 or more passes at SCQF Level 5 (Higher or equivalent) – up from 22.2% in 2009/10.
“I am immensely pleased that there are also fewer unemployed school leavers than ever before. These young people are the future of Scotland and the SNP Government will continue to help them grasp every opportunity to find a positive destination, wherever they are from.”