'Good news for the economy'

Raymond Robertson, the Education Minister, described the national figure of 45 per cent moving on to further and higher education as "good news for the economy".

Mr Robertson said: "This represents an increase of three per cent over the past three years and a huge advance on the 24 per cent of school leavers who went on to full-time education in 1980."

He added that most other young people were successful in gaining a job or a full-time place.

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