96.5% of Orkney’s School Students Have Positive Destination on Leaving

Orkney’s school students have had a lot to deal with over the course of the two years of a Covid pandemic. Despite adapting to a different way of learning with the loss of face to face teaching during lockdown and with all the other limitations of dealing with a public health crisis, students have risen to the challenge.

Out of 202 school leavers, 195 Orcadian students have gone on to positive destinations in the period 2020/2021. That’s 96.5%, up from 91.5% for 2019/2020, and more than the Scottish average of 95.5%.

The figures break down as follows:

Higher EducationFurther EducationEmployment

The figures compared to the Scottish average and to last year are as follows:

A school leaver is defined as a young person of school leaving age, who left during or at the end of the school year. For 2020/21 school leavers, the leaver year is 16th September 2020 to 14th September 2021.

Summary Statistics for Attainment and Initial Leaver Destinations

In Scotland as a whole, the majority of school students stay on to 6th year.

Positive Destinations Male and Female 2020/2021, in brackets 2019/2020

Higher EducationFurther EducationEmploymentTraining
Male37.3% (52.1%)24% (26.3%)27.9% (12.5%)4.7% (2.8%)
Female53% (44.2%)22.6% (28.1%)17.1% (16.2%)2.7% (3.7%)

The statistics for Scotland show that for National Qualifications:

  • 87.7% of school leavers achieved at least one pass at SCQF Level 5 (eg National 5) or better – up from 85.7% in 2019-20 and 77.1% in 2009-10
  • 66% achieved at least one pass at SCQF Level 6 (eg Higher) or better – up from 63.9% in 2019-20 and 50.4% in 2009-10
  • the gap narrowed between the proportion of pupils from the most and least deprived areas leaving school with at least one pass at SCQF Levels 4, 5 and 6 or better
  • the proportion of school leavers achieving vocational awards to support them into the workplace continued to increase

Commenting on the figures Education Secretary in the Scottish Government Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, 95.5% of pupils were in positive destinations three months after leaving school. This reflects the resilience and hard work of our young people and all who have supported them during the past two turbulent years.

“The narrowing of the poverty-related attainment gap shown by the figures is also very welcome. So, too, is the increase in the proportion of pupils gaining vocational qualifications and in those going on to higher education in college and university.

“It is important, though, to view the statistics against the backdrop of COVID-19. Exams had to be cancelled for two years and National Qualifications were awarded using different methods. The pandemic will also have affected the choices made by some school leavers and the opportunities available to them.

“Our focus remains on ensuring that all children and young people, regardless of their background, have the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential in school and beyond.”

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