Collecting data by another name

4th March 2005 at 00:00
If I may be permitted a brief reply to Christina Allon's letter, "Demonstrating commitment" (TESS, February 18), regarding Careers Scotland's school-leavers' statistics.

She states: "The report does differentiate between those known to be unemployed on the count date and those whose destination is unknown to us."

A more accurate description, for our school at least, would have been "those known to be unemployed on the count date along with those unemployed on their last contact with Careers Scotland".

This would then have included those formerly unemployed, who were in worktrainingFE, and unable to be contacted by Careers Scotland on the count date. Phoning individuals during office hours to determine their status may not be the best way to contact those in work or at college.

For the record, the leavers' destinations given by Careers Scotland for John Paul Academy are shown below, along with the revised figures collected by our pastoral care staff and their Careers Scotland colleagues.

As we can now put names to these individuals, I can assure Ms Allon that most of these pupils were in the categories shown on the census day in October. Therefore, the problem of data collection remains.

Published (%) Revised (%)

Full-time HE 13 13

Full-time FE 9 18

Training 5 8.5

Employed 20 33

Unemployed 37 3

Other known 8 14

Unknown 7 10

I have no cause to doubt the commitment of Careers Scotland staff, but their methods of data collection are another matter.

Charlie Docherty

John Paul Academy, Glasgow

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