Is it good that young people are staying

On examination affects day, education correspondent Jamie McIvor asks a fundamental and retro query: is it a great issue that more youngsters than ever earlier than stay on at faculty or visit college and university?

Exam passes are excessive using ancient requirements; more kids stay in college and go to university or university. Is this a terrific aspect in itself? Or is the schooling gadget truly having to evolve to the fact that there are fewer appropriate jobs for younger humans within the current world and that unskilled jobs are disappearing?

It is an exciting philosophical query to ponder – one quite distinct from the question of ensuring all younger people can gain their capacity in training, no matter wealth or circle of relatives heritage. Where to move for help on exam outcomes day. The suspicion of a few has continually been that the training gadget has had to take in kids who may otherwise have been unemployed – both because of money troubles or the sluggish disappearance of some unskilled jobs. In the 1970s, the faculty leaving age changed into raised from 15 to 16; however, it took a similarly 10 years for a qualifications system designed with the greater academically-in a position in mind to adapt.

For a few years, children who were now unable to look for a full suite of O grades stuffed their 0.33 and fourth 12 months timetables with “no certificates” courses – visible by way of a few as a waste of effort. The boredom those college students experienced became blamed by using a few teachers for indiscipline. Standard grades had been designed to make sure all children ought to get a meaningful qualification. This underlying ethos has been carried into the modern-day National qualifications.

But inside the 1980s, it turned into nevertheless unusual for a teenager who turned into now not reading for Highers to stay on until S5. When a person who was now not doing Highers stayed on past their statutory leaving age, once more, the suspicion of a few was that the teen turned into simplest at faculty to “stay off the dole.” In Scotland, the reliable school leaving age continues to be sixteen, but most people scholars, regardless of their academic potential, stay on until S6. It is now uncommon to leave at the top of S4, and schools might certainly be worried if a teenager desired to go away early without a great reason for doing so.

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Positive outcomes

S4, S5, and S6 are now classed as the “senior phase.” The emphasis is on the qualifications a teenager has when they go away – no longer on what they have achieved with the aid of a selected degree. The wide variety of so-known as Neets – children who aren’t in education, employment, or training – is at a shallow stage by using ancient requirements.


The Scottish authorities ensure kids who aren’t in an activity a place in education or training. It is frequently the case that a pupil classed as a Neet has a protracted returned story which helps explains the state of affairs. If a student leaves college before the cease of S6 because they have got secured an apprenticeship or a place at college or university, it’d be deemed to be a “tremendous final results”; if a teen without a doubt wanted to go away school for a dead-quit process, a college might fear this become a failure on their component as the pupil may not be enjoying their education.

Student celebrating examination

The senior segment is designed to provide a flexible staying system where any teen can obtain a young price. For the maximum academically-capable, the query may be what Highers or Advanced Highers they leave college with. For others, it might be approximately the quantity of National 4s and 5s they reap – even one Higher would possibly constitute a huge non-public achievement. Colleges had been through a big shake-up in recent years and now listen frequently on full-time courses which lead to a regarded qualification – those are often taken by way of college students in their teens or early 20s.

Drop-out rate

Privately, some inside the college machine warn that schools are having to accommodate kids who may, in any other case, were unemployed, in addition to those who positively need to be reading a topic. This can be contemplated in the drop-out charge for some courses. So we return to the query: is a college machine where it is uncommon for a teenager to depart early and a university device that has to find locations for folks that might in any other case be unemployed attaining something high-quality in itself? Or is it merely parking the kid’s unemployment problem, similar to noncertificates S4 training within the Seventies?

Boy doing exam paper

Few within the mainstream would critically argue that instructional opportunities have to be now not as broadly available as feasible. But the issue touches on an intriguing question. Once, it became viable to go away from college with O grades and get a job with potentialities. Not so long in the past, many top jobs had been to be had to kids with true Highers. Today, other than cutting-edge apprenticeships, the maximum top jobs for young human beings require a college or college qualification first.

So is the education system having to deal with the practical effect of financial change?

De-industrialization and automation mean the various unskilled, access degree jobs as soon as stuffed by way of school-leavers no longer exist. Or are the modifications undoubtedly assisting in providing the personnel the financial system desires?

A skilled group of workers

The argument is that Scotland, like each superior country, desires as skilled a team of workers as viable to compete across the world and fulfill its potential. A professional team of workers no longer just means turning out scientists and surgeons – it way for hairdressers and a team of workers for the hospitality enterprise. Once, fewer people in the one’s industries could have obtained any formal university education and may definitely have found out at the task or served a traditional apprenticeship. But the argument is that a proper route and education raises standards and permits the first-rate to shine.

Anecdotally, of the route, among the absolutely unskilled jobs which people with few qualifications may additionally as soon as have performed – say stacking shelves inside the grocery store – at the moment are accomplished by college students or people with college or university qualifications who locate themselves “underemployed” . Indeed, even as the quantity of younger human beings at college is close to a historical excessive, a large share of graduates do not secure what could be visible as graduate-stage jobs even though few could do unskilled work for lengthy.

None of this is to suggest an awesome training isn’t always of fee in itself – although it does now not lead to a person getting a better task than they will have were given in any other case. But possibly it is thrilling to reflect on how in the area of slightly 40 years, the time someone routinely spends in training has extended. Once, a simple education ended at 15; now, few teenagers are completely out of the gadget.