Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed news that a record 94.4% of school leavers across Scotland last year achieved a “positive destination” within three months.

Young people in Falkirk district exceeded the national average, with the figure standing at 94.6% locally, according to official statistics.

Positive destinations include further study, employment, training or voluntary work. In the Falkirk Council area, 39.7% of school leavers last year went on to higher education and 23.1% to further education, 2.8% took up training and 26.7% started a job.

Across Scotland, the gap between those from the most and least deprived communities achieving a positive destination has halved over the last decade, with an increase in positive destinations for school leavers from both backgrounds.

And for the first time, more than 30% of pupils left school with a minimum of five passes at Higher level or better – up from 22.2% in 2009-10.

Mr Matheson said: “It’s good to see that the overwhelming majority of school leavers in Falkirk district are enjoying a successful transition to the world of further study or work.

“While the number of school leavers in Scotland achieving a positive destination has been steadily increasing year after year over the past decade, it’s important that we keep up efforts to create opportunities for our young people, so no one is left behind.

“The Scottish Government will continue to do more to close the attainment gap, with more than £180million set aside in the coming year’s budget to address this ongoing challenge.”