School Leaver Destinations

What We Have Found

In 2017 there were 62,942 domestic school leavers. Of these, 61.2% (38,499 students) had enrolled in tertiary education at all levels during 2018.

Date Updated: October 2019

Indicator Description

Tertiary education destinations of school leavers one year after leaving school.

How We Are Going

Of the 62,942 students who left school in 2017, 61.2% enrolled in tertiary education during 2018. This continues a downward trend in the proportion of school leavers enrolling to tertiary education in the year after leaving school, since the 2013 leaver cohort (65.1%). The proportion enrolled at bachelors and above decreased by 0.4 percentage points from 32.5% of 2016 school leavers to 32.1% of 2017 school leavers. There was an increase in enrolments in Level 3 to 7 certificates and diplomas from 23.4% to 24.3%, offset by a decrease in enrolments in Level 1 and 2 certificates from 5.8% to 4.7%.

Figure 1: Proportion of school leavers in tertiary education one year after leaving school by school leaving year and tertiary education level (2013-2017)

Some students have a gap of more than a year between leaving school and enrolling in tertiary education. The following examines for the proportions of leavers who enrol for the first time up to three years after leaving school

Of the 2015 leaver cohort, 63.9% enrolled in the year after leaving school, 8.6% enrolled for the first time two years after leaving school, 4.0% enrolled for the first time three years after leaving school and 23.5% had no enrolment in a tertiary course within three years of leaving.

In comparing leaver cohorts from 2011 to 2015, there has been an overall increase in the proportion of students enrolling in tertiary education in the year after leaving school (0.8 percentage points). Over the same period, there has been a decrease in the proportion of leavers enrolling in tertiary education for the first time two (1.3 percentage point drop) to three years (0.1 percentage point drop) after leaving school.

Figure 2: Proportion of school leavers starting tertiary education by school leaving year and the number of years after leaving school (2011-2015)

Gender

Female school leavers are more likely to progress to tertiary education in the year after leaving school than male school leavers. In 2018, 63.5% of females from the 2017 leaver cohort were enrolled in tertiary education compared to 58.9% of males. These proportions are lower than the 2016 leaver cohort where 64.1% of female and 59.3% of male school leavers progressed directly to tertiary education.

Females are more likely to enrol in Level 3 and above qualification with 59.1% of 2017 leavers doing so in 2018, compared with 53.8% of males.

Figure 3: Proportion of school leavers in tertiary education one year after leaving school by school leaving year and gender (2011-2017)

Ethnicity

The proportion of Asian school leavers in 2017 enrolled in tertiary education in 2018 was 78.4%. This was 15.4 percentage points higher than European/Pākehā (63.0%). Pacific was 51.7% and Māori was 49.8%.

Figure 4: Proportion of school leavers in tertiary education one year after leaving school by school leaving year and ethnicity (2011-2017)

Māori and Pacific are more likely to be enrolled in foundation courses, certificates and diplomas than any other ethnic group. From the 2017 school leaver cohort, 35.6% of Māori and 31.9% of Pacific enrolled in tertiary education Level 1-7 (non-degree) during 2018.

Figure 5: Proportion of 2017 school leavers in tertiary education one year after leaving school by ethnicity and tertiary education level

Māori Medium Education

Of the 15,135 Māori students who left school in 2017, 3.3% of them were learning in Māori Medium Education (MME)when they left school. This proportion has been very consistent over the last 10 years, and the peak value was 3.7% appeared in 2014.

In 2017 school leaver cohort, 51.1% of Māori students from MME enrolled in tertiary education during 2018, down 2.4 percentage points compared to 2016 cohort. The rate for Māori school leavers from English Medium Education (EME) was 49.8%, down 0.1 percentage points. The total school leavers’rate was 61.2%, down 0.4 percentage points.

Since 2013, there have been decreases in the proportion of Māori school leavers making a direct transactionto tertiary education from both MME and EME. The decline in tertiary enrolment for Māori school leavers from MME between 2012 and 2017 was 12.9 percentage points. Direct transaction to tertiary from 2015 to 2017 for Māori school leavers in EME declined 4.3 percentage points.

Figure 6: Proportion of school leavers in tertiary education one year after leaving school by school leaving year and education type (2011-2017)

In the 2017 school leaver cohort, the proportion of Māori school leavers from MME who enrolled in bachelors and above was higher than that of Māori school leavers from EME (19.4% and 14.0% respectively). Both groups had similar proportions enrolling in certificates and diplomas Level 3 to 7 (24.0% and 25.7% respectively). Māori school leavers from EME are more likely to participate in lower level tertiary education (10.1% compared to 7.7% of Māori school leavers in MME).

Figure 7: Proportion of 2017 Māori school leavers in tertiary education one year after leaving school by education type and by tertiary education level

School Decile

Deciles are a measure of the socio-economic position of a school’s student community relative to other schools throughout the country

Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state-integrated schools to enable them to overcome the barriers to learning faced by students from lower socio-economic communities.

Students from schools with a high socio-economic mix are more likely to enrol in tertiary education. In 2017, 71.8% of school leavers from schools in the highest quintile(decile 9 and 10) enrolled in tertiary education in 2018. This compares with 49.0% of leavers from schools in the lowest quintile (decile 1 and 2).

Figure 8: Proportion of school leavers tertiary education one year after leaving school by school leaving year and school decile (2013-2017)

Students from lower decile schools are more likely to enrol in foundation courses, certificates and diplomas than students from higher deciles. Based on the 2017 leaver cohort, 34.2% of leavers from schools in the lowest two deciles enrolled in tertiary education in Levels 1 to 7 (non-degree) during 2018. In comparison, 17.9% of school leavers from the highest two deciles enrolled in levels one to seven (non-degree) during 2018.

Figure 9: Proportion of school leavers in tertiary education one year after leaving school by school decile and tertiary education level (2017)

Highest School Qualification

Students who left school in 2017 with NCEA Level 3were most likely to enrol in tertiary education in 2018 (73.9%). This is compares with 35.8% for school leavers with less than a NCEA Level 1 qualification.

Since 2011, the proportion of school leavers with NCEA Level 2 enrolling tertiary education in the year after leaving school had the highest decrease from 57.3% for 2011 school leavers to 49.6% for 2017 school leavers (7.7 percentage points), and the proportion of school leavers with NCEA Level 3 enrolling tertiary education in the year after leaving school decreased 6.5 percentage points from 80.4% for 2011 school leavers to 73.9% for 2017 school leavers.

Figure 10: Proportion of school leavers in tertiary education one year after leaving school by school leaving year and highest school qualification (2011-2017)

References

The Ministry of Education has established an Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme to systematically identify, evaluate, analyse, synthesise and make accessible, relevant evidence linked to a range of learner outcomes.  Please visit BES (Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis) Programme to find out more.

Footnotes

  1. Tertiary education level is the highest level of enrolment over the given year.
  2. Māori Medium Education is where students are taught all or some curriculum subjects in the Māori language for at least 51 percent of the time (Māori Language Immersion Levels 1-2).
  3. Total school leavers include school leavers of all ethnic groups in both MME and EME.
  4. Direct transaction means enrolling in tertiary education in the year after leaving school.
  5. Highest quintile means decile 9 and 10 and lowest quintile means decile 1 and 2. Quintile doesn’t means 20% of school leavers.
  6. NCEA Level 3 includes equivalent international qualifications