Partnerships to support early school leavers: school-college transitions and winter leavers in Scotland

Jesus Canduela, Rachel Chandler, Ian Elliott, Colin Dale Lindsay, Suzi Macpherson, Ronald W McQuaid, Robert Raeside

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the characteristics, destinations and progression routes of early school leavers – specifically ‘exceptional entry winter leavers’ – in Scotland. Exceptional entry allows students to enter college in the term before their statutory school leaving date – such young people attend college while formally remaining the responsibility of their school. Such arrangements represent an innovative model of supporting transitions to further education among a specific, potentially vulnerable client group, while also offering lessons for the development of school–college collaboration in other areas. Based on an analysis of official data, new survey research with schools and colleges, and in-depth case studies, this article identifies how schools and colleges work in partnership to support these early school leavers. We find that schools and colleges have developed a range of innovative approaches to engaging with winter leavers, and that the majority complete their programmes or achieve other positive end-of-year outcomes. However, the most disadvantaged young people remain least likely to progress. The article concludes by identifying lessons for good practice in school–college partnership-working and considering implications for policies to prevent young people from finding themselves not in employment, education or training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-362
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Education and Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • early school leavers
  • further education
  • NEET
  • college

Cite this