THE proportion of school leavers in a “positive destination” nine months after the end of the school year is at its highest level since records began in 2009.

National statistics published on Tuesday showed 93.5% of 2021/22 leavers were in a positive follow-up destination, up from 93.2% the previous year.

The Scottish Government defines a positive destination as further or higher education, training or employment.

Among the latest cohort, 31.8 % were in employment, the highest proportion since comparable data was first gathered in 2009.

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At 37.7%, higher education remained the most popular destination though it had fallen from 40.3% the previous year.

Meanwhile, the gap between those in the most and least deprived areas reaching positive destinations was at its narrowest since 2009, at seven percentage points.

Scottish Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth praised the figures, saying: “I am greatly encouraged to see we have a record number of young people in work, training or further study less than a year after leaving school.

“These figures are testament to the hard work of learners across the country.

“We know the pandemic had a significant impact on our education system, but Scotland’s teachers and support staff are clearly preparing young learners for the next stage in life very well, whether that be work or further study.

“This Government has prioritised tackling the gap in achievement between the most and least deprived areas, so I am heartened to see this gap continuing to close.

“As we start to embark on a programme of education reform in the months ahead, it is clear that we will be building on a very strong platform.”