A record number of East Lothian young people are in employment, education or training up to ten months after leaving school, according to recent data.

School Leaver Destination Returns are used nationally to record the number of pupils who go onto work, further or higher education, training or other activities, such as voluntary commitments, after school. This data is then followed up to determine outcomes after a period of up to ten months. The figures are collated and published by Scottish Government, giving a national overview as well breakdowns across local authority areas.

Increase on previous year

At a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Education Committee today (18 June 2024), elected members heard that 96.3% of young people who had left school during academic session 2022/23 remained in a ‘positive destination’ of employment, education or training at February 2024. This was an increase on the previous year (95.6%) and higher than the national average of 95.9%.

The numbers of leavers moving into further and higher education rose by 1.2% and 1.4% respectively (FE: 21.4% in 21/22 compared to 20.2% in 20/21, and HE 38.7% v 37.3 in 2021) while there was a 4.8% decrease in the number moving into employment. East Lothian traditionally has a higher number of pupils moving into employment than in other authority areas.

Annual Participation Measure

Councillors also heard that the Annual Participation Measure (APM) of 16-19 year olds found an increase in the number of young people in that age group participating in education, training or employment from 93.3% in 2021/22 to 96.1% in 2023/24. East Lothian Council is aiming to increase this further to 96.4% by 2026/27.

Tailored support

East Lothian Council’s Head of Education Nicola McDowell said: “I am very pleased to see a continued improvement in our positive destination figures, recording the highest ever number of young people in sustained education, training or employment after leaving school. They should all be very proud of their accomplishments.

“It’s appropriate that this report has been considered by committee at the same time as we have updated on progress made on our raising attainment strategy. Helping our children and young people to succeed at school supports them to take their next steps in life in whatever path they choose. 

“We offer a range of options to help learners and tailored support where it’s needed most. This includes partnerships with industry and further education to offer a wide range of qualifications that help pupils meet their career aspirations. Our Foundation Apprenticeship programmes continue to grow with more young people choosing this route which combines workplace experience with class-based learning, and we have expanded this offering. We also continue to work closely with our partners at Edinburgh College to increase access to their courses either on their site or at the purpose-built spaces in Wallyford Learning campus.

“We are ambitious for all of our learners and will use the insights that this and other data provides, as well as the resources available to us, to help them succeed in school and in life beyond it.”

Published: Tuesday, 18th June 2024