Aberdeenshire has out-performed the national average for the third year in a row in terms of positive destinations for its secondary school students.
Figures released by Aberdeenshire Council show that 2,453 pupils left school and went onto a positive destination in 2017-18 which increased the rate slightly from 95.5% to 96.3%.
Nationally, some 46,934 pupils featured in the category, representing a 94.4% average.
The council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee which meets this week will be told that higher education also continues to be above the national average, although employment is slightly below averagel.
The majority of S4 leavers in 2017-18 went on to further education (52.7%) or employment (30.8%).
The percentage going on to further education was almost 10% lower in 2017-18 than 2016-17, while a similar proportion of leavers were employed (30.8%) or unemployed (8%).
For S5 leavers, almost 2% more went on to higher education in 2017-18 while there were small percentage increases in the numbers going on to activity agreements, employment and unemployment.
For S6 leavers, 2.3% fewer went on to further education in 2017-18 and 2% more went on to higher education.
Of the 19 pupils who left Aberdeenshire Special Schools in 2017-18, five went on to positive destinations while 12 went on to a Personal Skills Developments (PSD) programme.
Education chief Laurence Findlay will advise councillors that findings from Skills Development Scotland indicate that the oil and gas downturn will continue to have an ongoing impact in terms of employment.
He says: “After a downturn in the local labour market opportunities in 2015-16 due to the downturn in the oil and gas sector, employment is expected to remain flat over the next few years, but decline slightly in the longer term.”
With more than 2,500 school leavers every year, Mr Findlay says Aberdeenshire has to ensure “effective data analysis processes” and well developed partnership working to enable young people to receive their full entitlement from the ‘Opportunities for All (OfA)’ commitment.
Throughout 2018-19, SDS has been working closely with schools and key partners including the Aberdeenshire OfA officer across Aberdeenshire, using their needs matrix to identify young people requiring additional support to move into a positive destination.