RECORD numbers of pupils are going to university, college, training or a job after leaving school.

Figures show 90 per cent of leavers were in so-called positive destinations in March 2014, up from 89.5 per cent last year.

However, Scotland's poorest pupils are still being outperformed by those from the richest backgrounds. And, although results for children in care have improved, the group still lags a long way behind the rest of the school population.

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Rates of school exclusion rates among looked after pupils have fallen by 43 per cent since 2009/10 - from 365 per 1000 pupils to 209 per 1000 - but this remains higher than the average.

Angela Constance, cabinet secretary for training, said: "Improvements in attainment and positive destinations are very encouraging, but the Scottish Government is committed to giving every young person the best possible chance of finding a sustainable career." However, Scottish Conservative education spokeswomen Mary Scanlon said: "These statistics prove our education system continues to leave poor pupils behind."

The figures, published by Scotland's chief statistician, also show a marginal increase in the number of pupils taking a school meal, up from 49.5 per cent in 2013 to 49.8 per cent this year. The take-up of meals has fallen with the introduction of healthier menus.