THE highest ever number of Glasgow pupils went on to higher education last year, new figures reveal.

Education bosses have analysed the latest leaver destination figures, which show 41.4% of pupils went on to college or university.

Despite a challenging 12 months for young people, the city's positive destination figures keep pace with those of previous years.

There was an increase to 5.1% in the number of pupils leaving school unemployed but seeking work after several years of that figure shrinking.

But the national figure also increased and this was linked to the lack of job opportunities due to the pandemic.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “There’s no denying that last year was difficult for everyone but especially our senior pupils with the disruption to learning and the cancellation of exams.

“Despite the pandemic our school leaver destination statistics remain strong and with more young people than ever before going to further and higher education."

Schools closed on March 23 last year, creating a greater challenge for secondaries to support pupils into positive destinations - further education, work, volunteering or apprenticeships.

A number of employers and training organisations were not able to provide employment or programmes to school leavers.

Latest figures for 2020/21 showed 92.9% of Glasgow pupils went on to a positive destination, a drop from a high of 94.6% the year before.

As told in the Glasgow Times last month, there were particular success stories such as Lochend Community High School in Easterhouse, which had 100% positive leaver destinations.

In order to ensure pupils have positive futures on leaving school, the city has a number of initiatives in place.

Over the next five years, the Towards Better Future Strategy sets a target of having 100% positive leaver destinations in every school in the city.

A report going to councillors tomorrow reads: "This strategy aims to achieve 100% initial and sustained positive destinations for Glasgow’s School Leavers over the next five years.

"Although Covid has provided challenges, we are still aiming for 100% destinations in the same timeframe, we do not see Covid as a reason to delay our timeframes, for the sake of our young people.

"We also have learned a lot of lessons through this year which will help us in developing our strategy."

Among the initiatives in place is a partnership with Intercultural Youth Scotland, placing a worker in Knightswood Secondary School and Shawlands Academy for one day a week, to provide support into positive destinations for BAME leavers.

Working with Action for Children, a full-time member of staff was placed in each of the three Glasgow colleges to provide targeted support for vulnerable Glasgow students, either referred by their school or the college or who self-referred.

Some 151 young people signed up for this service with 110 now managing their courses and 41 in an alternative positive destination.

The council spokeswoman added: “The committee report outlines the Towards Better Futures campaign that brings together a partnership across the city with the main focus of making sure Glasgow’s young people are given every possible opportunity to improve their live chances.”