MSP welcomes school leaver figures

INITIAL figures released by Skills Development Scotland reveal that 93.5 per cent of youngsters who left school in Angus between August, 2011, and July 31, 2012, went on to enter work, training or education.

That compares favourably with a national average of 89.9 per cent.

The statistics for Angus indicate that of 1,133 school leavers, 34.5 per cent went into higher education, 35.5 per cent to further education, 2.5 per cent to training and 19.2 per cent to employment.

The figures were welcomed by Angus South MSP Graeme Dey who commented: The fact that 93.5 per cent of school leavers in Angus are going into positive destinations is encouraging and a testimony to the Scottish Government’s Opportunities for All initiative and the investment of more than £80 million to improve the life chances of young people.

“But it also says something for the quality of young person leaving school in the county and those who have educated them.”

He went on: “The fact almost 90 per cent of school leavers across Scotland are securing opportunities thereafter is good news - especially given the present economic situation and the fact that as a devolved administration the Scottish Government doesn’t have all the powers of an Independent nation - but we must seek to build upon this even though it won’t be easy in light of the cuts handed down from Westminster.”

The MSP also welcomed changes made to the Scottish Government’s draft budget which saw the original allocation of funding earmarked for colleges in 2013/’14 increased by £10 million and the figure for 2014/’15 increased by £51 million to £522 million, the same level as for 2013/’14.

He said: “With far less money to go around owing to the Scottish Government’s own budget being slashed by London, Finance Secretary John Swinney has done well to improve the draft funding proposals and find additional money for housing, town centre regeneration, transport and further education.

“The opposition parties at Holyrood made lots of noise about cuts to college funding. But when John Swinney came up with more money for the sector they actually voted against the budget.

“It is worth noting also that the highest annual budget handed down to the FE sector – by Labour and the Lib-Dems - prior to the SNP coming to power in 2007 was £510 million – some £12 million less than will be available in each of the next two financial years.”