SNP MSP Christina McKelvie has welcomed new figures that show 94% of school leavers from South Lanarkshire are in positive destinations nine months after finishing school.

Across Scotland, the proportion of school leavers in the 2021/22 cohort accessing further or higher education, employment, training or an apprenticeship nine months after leaving school is its highest since records began. The number of school leavers in work has also reached a record high of 31.8%.

This year has also seen a reduction in the poverty related attainment gap, with the gap between young people from the most and least deprived areas across Scotland in work, training or further study narrowing to a record low of seven percentage points – down from 18.7 percentage points in 2009-10.

Commenting, Christina said:

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic and the impact of the ongoing Tory cost of living crisis, young people in South Lanarkshire, including my constituency of Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, are continuing to achieve and excel, and I welcome that 94% have went on to secure work, further education or a training post nine months after leaving schools.

“These encouraging numbers are testament to the hard work and commitment of our young people, teachers and parents – and show that this SNP Government is delivering on its education commitments and closing the attainment gap.

“Much progress has been made in Scotland to increase opportunities for young people, but the only way to properly tackle the poverty related attainment gap is to tackle poverty – which will always be impossible under this Tory UK government, and their punitive austerity measures.

“Scotland needs independence now, so that it can have the full powers at its disposal to properly address poverty, and continue to support young people in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse to thrive.”