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National school leaver data

An explanation of educational terms that may be new to you can be found in the Parentzone Scotland Glossary.

In order to help raise attainment and support school improvement, information is gathered each year on the attainment and destinations of school leavers across Scotland.

The information presented here is designed to give parents a view of how schools are meeting the challenges facing Scottish education today:

  • equipping young people with the skills, experience and attitudes needed in the 21st century
  • raising attainment for all
  • ensuring every child has the same opportunity to succeed.

The data comes from the Scottish Government's online tool for educational professionals, called Insight. Insight presents attainment data from Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) accredited courses achieved by pupils during their senior phase (S4-S6). Awards gained before the senior phase are not included in this data. Not all achievement awards are recorded in Insight.

For further background and technical information please read:

PDF file: School Leaver Performance Data - Background Information (154 KB)

How well are schools in Scotland doing?

National data on the performance of school leavers is available through Parentzone Scotland in response to interest shown by website users. The current performance data is not directly comparable with data from previous years due to changes brought about by Curriculum for Excellence and the phased introduction of new National Qualifications. Now that the phased introduction of the new qualifications is complete, it will be possible in future to compare certain national performance data over time.

It is not helpful to compare your school’s data to the national data. This is because all schools are unique. For example some schools have a much higher number of children and young people with additional support needs than others and so this may affect their overall attainment. There may be fewer job opportunities for young people living in remote rural areas and so this could affect the percentage of pupils who achieve a positive destination in that school. The context of a school must be taken into account when considering how well a school is doing. Advice is provided on the schools pages to help you understand how well your school is doing.

To view the National data go to the Tableau website. Select 'Scotland' from the local authority dropdown list and then choose 'Scotland' for establishment name. The notes below explain the graphs and tables provided on the link. (Explanatory notes for the school level data are provided on the schools’ school level data tab.)

Percentage of leavers entering a positive destination

The graph shows the percentage of school leavers who entered a positive destination. Positive destinations categories are: higher education, further education, training, voluntary work, employment and activity agreements.

The information on the leaver destinations of publicly funded school pupils is based on information collected in October of each year.

A key priority of Scottish education is to improve the employability skills of our young people. This is resulting in changes to the way the curriculum is offered. Many young people do fewer formal qualifications than previously, but benefit from stronger engagement with colleges and local employers. This leads to achievement awards and industry standard qualifications.

This measure is known on Insight as the 'National Benchmarking Measure: Increasing Post-school Participation'.

School leavers’ attainment in literacy and numeracy

One of the core aims of the Curriculum for Excellence is to improve the numeracy and literacy skills of our young people. The graph on the main dashboard shows the percentage of school leavers in Scotland who attained literacy and numeracy at SCQF level 4 or better, and SCQF level 5 or better. The graphs on the Literacy and Numeracy tab show the percentage of school leavers who attained literacy and/or numeracy at SCQF level 4 or better, and SCQF level 5 or better.

This measure is known on Insight as the 'National Benchmarking Measure: Literacy and Numeracy'.

School leavers’ attainment in the context of deprivation

In many countries, including Scotland, levels of attainment are linked to the levels of deprivation in the geographical areas in which learners live. Education policy in Scotland aims to raise attainment for all learners and ensure every child has the same opportunity to succeed.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) enables the areas in which school leavers live to be mapped to concentrations of deprivation and grouped accordingly. SIMD rankings do not relate to individual learners or households.

The number and level of qualifications a young person gains by the point they leave school provides a tariff score. These figures are brought together to provide an average total tariff score for school leavers in Scotland.

Only the latest and best awards in each subject are counted in the tariff score. For example if someone has National 4 and National 5 awards in English, it is only the National 5 award that will count towards this measure.

The graph on the main dashboard shows attainment across Scottish school leavers by level of deprivation (1 = most deprived areas, 5 = least deprived areas).

You can see this graph again on the “Deprivation” tab. Alongside this you will see a graph showing the percentage of the Scottish school leavers by SIMD quintile.

This measure is known on Insight as the 'National Benchmarking Measure: Attainment versus Deprivation'.

Overall attainment of school leavers: School leavers’ average total tariff score

The fourth graph on the main dashboard shows the average total tariff score of Scottish school leavers.

School leavers' individual total tariff scores have been calculated and grouped into the lowest 20%, middle 60% and highest 20% of attainers across Scotland. The average total tariff score of each of these groups of school leavers is displayed.

This measure is known on Insight as the 'National Benchmarking Measure: Improving Attainment for All'.

Awards gained by level: SCQF Tab

The table on the SCQF tab shows the full range of SCQF accredited awards gained at SCQF levels 1 to 7 or better, and provides a view of the breadth and depth of awards achieved.

When a pupil has been awarded a course at an SCQF level, they will be counted in the corresponding box(es) in the table. For example, a pupil gaining three awards at SCQF level 4 would be counted in the cells for:

  • '1 or more awards’ at 'SCQF level 4 or better'
  • '2 or more awards' at 'SCQF level 4 or better'
  • '3 or more awards' at 'SCQF level 4 or better'.

They would also be counted once in each of the equivalent cells for:

  • '1 or more awards’ at 'SCQF level 3 or better'
  • '2 or more awards' at 'SCQF level 3 or better'
  • '3 or more awards' at 'SCQF level 3 or better'.

And similarly for 'SCQF level 2 or better' and 'SCQF level 1 or better'.

Only the latest and best awards in each subject are counted. For example if someone has a National 5 and a Higher in Mathematics, it is only the Higher that will contribute to this measure.

This measure is known on Insight as the 'Breadth and Depth: Leavers'.

Symbols used:

Asterisks (*) have been inserted instead of figures for some schools and categories, where percentages are based on data for more than 0 but fewer than 5 pupils. This is because they could be misleading or lead to the identification of individuals. Within the Attainment in the context of deprivation data, asterisks can be inserted if the numerator or denominator is less than 5, or if suppression of another variable also requires suppression here.

Where there is no data available this is shown as ‘N/A’ in the accompanying table.

Totals shown in tables may not add up to 100% due to the rounding of percentages.

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