Future is bright for Midlothian’s teenagers

More than 40 children from Mid and East Lothian have graduated from the childrens university at Queen Margarets University, Musselburgh.  Photo: Steve Cox
More than 40 children from Mid and East Lothian have graduated from the childrens university at Queen Margarets University, Musselburgh. Photo: Steve Cox

A record number of Midlothian young people are heading to positive destinations on leaving high school, according to the latest figures.

Statistics for 2014-15 released by the Scottish Government show that 93 per cent of the county’s school leavers are moving on to a job, enrolling in college or training or securing another positive destination such as volunteering.

A breakdown of the data shows that 47.9 per cent of school leavers in Midlothian went on to higher or further education, while 39 per cent found work.

The numbers have steadily increased in recent years after Midlothian recorded one of the poorest figures in Scotland in 2008-09. Then only 78.4 per cent moved into a positive destination.

The most recent figure compares with 90 per cent during the same period in 2014 and demonstrates a five-year positive trend showing an 8.6 per cent improvement when comparing 2010-11 to 2014-15. Midlothian stands slightly above the national average of 92 per cent.

SNP Councillor Bob Constable, Midlothian’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “The rise of 8.6 per cent from 2010-11 is a fantastic achievement for Midlothian and testament to the hard work and commitment of pupils, staff and our partner agencies such as further education colleges.

“Our ambition is to see 95 per cent of school leavers go onto a positive destination.

“Numerous initiatives are underway to support young people. For example, we recently worked with the Regional ‘Developing Young Workforce’ Group of the chambers of commerce on a jobs roadshow in the National Mining Museum Scotland. The event was one of three roadshows across the Lothians that saw more than 850 pupils meet up with 100 recruiting businesses.

“We have also supported 70 young people to secure a positive destination by means of our new pathways in child care, retail, college, youth work, employability, army, sport and leisure and music and rural skills.”

Colin Beattie said: “It’s excellent news that 93 per cent of young people in Midlothian are going on to a positive destination after leaving school – with most continuing in education or training.

“With record numbers of young people across Scotland in positive destinations, young people in Midlothian have exceeded the national average.”

Midlothian South MSP Christine Grahame added: “While these figures are hugely encouraging, there is more to do.

“The SNP has put improving attainment at schools at the heart of our plans for government and closing the attainment gap between young people from our most and least deprived areas is our priority over the next five years.”

The national statistics show a record 92 per cent of those who left school in 2014-15 went to positive destinations.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney said the figures reflected “the hard work, commitment and dedication of all these young people and the teachers who have supported them through school”.

Any Midlothian young people requiring support can contact the council’s Lifelong Learning and Employability Service 0131 271 3923/3450 or Skills Development Scotland on 0800 917 8000.