Investigating the potential use of long-term school and college destination measures

Jenna Julius, Jude Hillary and Henry Faulkner-Ellis

23 February 2022

One of education’s many roles is to provide young people with the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to support their progression to further study, training and employment. However, the main focus of schools and colleges has historically been on short term attainment outcomes and less on long term specific measures of future labour market success.

This exploratory report investigates whether existing data could help construct useful, supportive information for schools and colleges based on the longer-term destinations of former students.

Key Findings

  • As well as providing insights into where young people progress to after post-16 education, the research finds that the institution at which a young person studies their post-16 qualifications is associated with having a small but significant impact on their longer-term earnings and employment outcomes.
  • Context should be taken into account when understanding and interpreting destination measures, as young people’s progression pathways systematically differ based on their background characteristics.
  • To illustrate, a young person’s destination varies significantly based on their performance by the age of 16. For the 2003/04 post-16 cohort, young people who achieved five A*-C in their GCSEs were a third more likely to be in sustained employment and over five times less likely to be on benefits at age 25 compared to young people who did not achieve five A*-C in their GCSEs.

The accompanying technical report can be  here.

Related Titles

Longer-term destination measures could provide key insights into young people's future careers - Press Release

The case for giving greater priority to destination measures in the education system - Blog