Nine out of 10 of the most disillusioned and disruptive pupils in Scotland stayed on in education or found work after participating in the school-based programme xlerate with xl, according to independent research.
However, as revealed in The TESS earlier this year, the programme, operated by the Prince's Trust Scotland, is "under significant threat" due to new funding arrangements between local and national government, which will end the ring-fencing of the funds on which it relies. The charity also predicts its administration costs will rise dramatically under the new relationship.
The research, produced by Careers Scotland and published this week, shows that 91 per cent of pupils who completed the xlerate with xl programme have stayed on in school or gone into further or higher education, voluntary work or employment and training.
The findings follow on from official statistics which revealed that exclusions rose by 4 per cent last year - the fourth consecutive rise - with 44,794 pupils excluded for everything from general disobedience to physical violence.
Xlerate with xl operates through 217 xl clubs in 31 authorities, reaching around 2,500 pupils. It is aimed at S3-4 pupils who are underachieving, have a poor attendance record or are at risk of exclusion. The programme also works with pupils who lack confidence or self-esteem.
Geraldine Gammell, director of the Prince's Trust Scotland says: "These excellent findings demonstrate the importance of early intervention to prepare young people for the world of work and improve school leaver destinations.
"Without this and other programmes, we are continuing in a situation where one in five young people is not in education, employment or training on leaving school, with the resultant cost to society and the economy."