In the Herald this evening:

‘The NUMBER of pupils leaving schools in Scotland with at least one national qualification has declined, new figures have revealed.’

The actual figures:

  • 95.9% of school leavers gained one pass or more at SCQF Level 4 (e.g. National 4) or better, (a decrease from 96.2% in 2017-18);
  • the proportion of school leavers attaining one pass or more at SCQF Level 5 (e.g. National 5) or better decreased from 85.9% in 2017-18 to 85.1% in 2018-19

You’ll see that these one-year change figures, for the levels at which the vast majority of pupils get qualifications, are tiny – 0.3 to 0.8%. One year changes do not a trend make and changes this small are not significant in any way whatsoever.

There were reductions, again one-year, of between 1.7% and 2.1% at Higher and Advanced Higher level but these affected a much smaller group of pupils who cannot be equated with the mass of leavers, at levels 4 and 5, implied in the headline.

Further, for context, only 63% of pupils in England leave with any ‘proper’ qualifications.