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School leaver follow-up destinations

An Accredited Official Statistics publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published ‘Summary statistics for follow-up leaver destinations’ for 2022-23 school leavers. These cover the destinations of school leavers nine months after the end of the school year.

Among 2022-23 school leavers, 92.8% were in a positive follow-up destination (including higher education, further education, employment, training, personal skills development and voluntary work). This is down from 93.5% of 2021-22 school leavers. Over the longer term it has increased from 85.9% in 2009-10.

The decrease compared to 2021-22 has been caused by reductions in the proportions of school leavers in higher education and employment.

  • Higher education remains the most common destination despite a drop from 37.7% in 2021-22 to 37.1% for 2022-23 school leavers - the lowest level since 2014-15.
  • The proportion in employment decreased from 31.8% in 2021-22 to 31.2% in 2022-23 but remains higher than at any point prior to 2020-21.
  • Meanwhile, the proportion in further education increased from 20.7% in 2021-22 to 21.2% in 2022-23 but remains lower than at any point prior to 2020-21.

The gap between the proportion of school leavers from our most and least deprived communities in positive follow-up destinations increased to 7.5 percentage points although this remains one of the narrowest gaps on record, only wider than in 2021-22 (7.0 percentage points).

In 2022-23, as in other years, S6 leavers were the most likely to be in a positive follow-up destination (96.1%) and S4 leavers were the least likely (85.7%). For S5 leavers the figure was 89.9%.

The publication refers to the same cohort of school leavers whose destinations three months after the end of the school year were published in February’s initial destination statistics. The proportion of leavers in a positive follow-up destination is typically one to two percentage points lower than the proportion in a positive initial destination. For 2022-23 leavers we have seen a drop of 3 percentage points from 95.9% to 92.8%.

Of the 2022-23 school leavers who entered a positive initial destination 95.1% were also in a positive follow-up destination. This varied by destination. For example, 94.7% of school leavers who were in Employment three months after the end of the school year were also in Employment nine months after the end of the school year. Whilst for Training the equivalent figure was 42.7%.


Follow-up destinations relate to outcomes approximately nine months after the end of the school year and the figures for the 2022-23 school leaver cohort relate to statuses recorded as at April 2024.

The figures released today were produced by professionally independent statistical staff in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

These statistics are sourced from ‘Summary statistics for follow-up leaver destinations, no. 6: 2024 edition’. The publication uses the school leaver destination data supplied by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) from the “Opportunities for All” shared dataset.


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