School leaver figures expose class divide in West Dunbartonshire

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West College Clydebank – statistics show funding packages have been eroded by £1 billion in the past decade. Picture by Bill Heaney

By Lizzie Healey

Dumbarton and Lomond MSP Jackie Baillie has called on the Government to invest in education as new figures outlining what young people do after they finish secondary school have exposed Scotland’s class divide.

The statistical publication, Summary Statistics for Attainment and Initial Leaver Destinations, reveals that in 2017/18, the most common destination for leavers from the most deprived areas was Further Education at 37.7%. In comparison, young people from the richest areas had the greatest percentage of school leavers going on to university at 61.6%.

Just 25.7 per cent of school leavers from the most deprived areas go on to a university education.

The Colleges sector has had more than £1 billion of funding cut from their budgets by the SNP Government in the last decade.

The figures also include zero hours’ contracts as positive destinations for young people after the SNP rejected a Labour proposal to stop counting them.

Glasgow University The University of Glasgow, which takes fewer children from areas of deprivation.

Jackie Baillie said: “Some parts of my own constituency are in the most deprived areas in the country. With 3 data zones in Helensburgh, and 7 and 15 data zones in Dumbarton and Alexandria respectively within the 20% most deprived areas in the country.

“In Scotland today, young people from these most deprived areas are more likely to go to college and less likely to go to University straight after school.

“Despite that, the SNP has under-resourced Colleges – diminishing opportunities for a whole section of young people in our communities.

“It is simply unacceptable that the SNP are manipulating figures by including zero hours’ contracts as ‘positive destinations’. These must stop being counted, it should be the ambition of us all to ensure that our young people are supported into the best possible destination after school.

“John Swinney and the Scottish Government must invest in all areas of education so that there are no barriers to our young people getting the opportunities they deserve.”

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