Poor children half as likely to go on to higher education than wealthier friends

27 Feb 2018

Liz Smith (2)

The Scottish Conservatives have accused the SNP of failing to tackle the attainment gap as figures released today demonstrate that school leavers from the most affluent families are, once again, much more likely to go to higher education than the most deprived leavers.

Figures from the Scottish Government’s publication of ‘Initial Destinations of Senior Phase School Leavers’ today show that just 24.9 per cent of the poorest school leavers go on to higher education, compared to 60.6 per cent of those from wealthier families.

This is in addition to the fact that only 89.6 per cent of the poorest students go on to positive destinations, compared to 96.6 per cent of the most affluent.

Lastly, the statistics show that unemployment among the most deprived school leavers is 9.9 per cent, compared to 3.2 per cent of the least deprived.

Commenting on the findings Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said:

“The SNP claims that closing the attainment gap is one of their top priorities however, these figures show that they have made very little progress.

“The SNP has completely failed to enable the most disadvantaged children to have the same opportunities as their wealthier counterparts when they leave school.

“Higher education is not the only choice for school leavers, but these figures demonstrate that students from poorer backgrounds are much less likely to take this path.

“This has to change, the SNP must pursue the radical measures necessary to make that change.

“It cannot be right that those youngsters from wealthier backgrounds have an automatic advantage over their peers who come from worse-off backgrounds.”