Last Updated: Thursday, June 27, 2019

Education Outcomes for Scotland's Looked After Children 2016/17

What is this?

​This is a Scottish Government report which​ summarises the 2016/17 data on looked after children’s attainment, post-school destinations, school attendance, school exclusions and achievement of curriculum for excellence attainment levels. This data is compared to previously collected data.

Children who are ‘looked after’ are considered to be either ‘looked after at home’ (living with a parent in the regular place of residence), or looked after away from home (living with carers provided, or financially supported, by the local authority).​

Who is this for?

​​School leads for looked after children and policy managers.

​About this research

​How was the research carried out?​

This document summarises the education outcomes of Scotland's looked after children. It links information from:

  • the Looked After Children statistics 2016/17
  • Pupil Census records 2017
  • School Leaver Initial and Follow-up Destination data, October 2017 and March 2018
  • Attainment data throughout school education
  • Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels, 2016/17

​What are the strengths of the research methodology​?

This report is based on Scottish Government statistics.

What is the context for this research?​

​Previous reports on the educational attainment of looked after children and young people has demonstrated a significant gap in attainment between that of looked after school leavers and all school leavers. This latest report detailing statistics from 2016/17 shows that the attainment of looked after children and young people is improving but a significant gap remains.

Improvement questions​

  • Do school staff know which children and young people are looked after at home or away from home?
  • Have all looked after children been assessed to consider whether they have additional support needs?
  • Is data collected to allow tracking of this cohort of learners?
  • Is there effective planning, tracking and monitoring of the progress of looked after learners to ensure equity?
  • Transition points are key for all children but particularly important for looked after learners. How effective are our transition arrangements in raising the attainment of looked after learners?

​For guidance on improving the outcomes for looked after children and young people see the Hub page ‘Looked after and Learning: Improving the learning journey of looked after children’.

About the author(s)

​Scottish Government


This research was not commissioned by Education Scotland and the findings, recommendations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Education Scotland.

​Full reference

Scottish Government (2018) Education Outcomes for Scotland’s Looked After Children 2016/17

Link(s) to full research article​

Scottish Government publication: Education outcomes for looked after children: 2016 to 2017.​