The educational attainment of looked-after children remains stubbornly low despite a sharp rise in their number over the past year, according to the latest statistics.
Adam Ingram, the Children and Early Years Minister, warned councils that the status quo was not good enough and there were too many children in care who were being let down by the system.
Figures published this week by the Scottish Government show 14,060 children were looked after by local authorities in March this year, an increase of eight per cent since the previous year. Since 2001, the number of looked after children has risen by 29 per cent.
But only 52 per cent of care-leavers had at least one pass at Standard grade Foundation level or better, an increase of just one per cent on the previous year. The number with both English and maths passes at this level remained unchanged, at 34 per cent.
Mr Ingram said he was disappointed by the statistics.
"There's nothing inevitable about young people who are looked after coming behind their peers in terms of qualifications.
"The number of vulnerable young people under the care of local authorities is increasing, showing we are identifying those in need and getting them support and security. But I want to see an improvement in attainment and opportunities because the status quo is simply not good enough."