The number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) aged 16-19 in Warwickshire has fallen considerably, showing the county to be among the top-performing of authorities of its kind in the country.
A report to the county council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee for Children, Young People and Families showed a steady fall to 3.6% (660 young people aged 16-19 years) for the academic year 2012/13, down from 6.7% in 2005/06.
This compares very favourably against the county’s statistical neighbours – authorities with comparable characteristics which can be used for benchmarking.
Only Leicestershire’s figure of 3.5% NEETs among 16-19 year olds is lower than Warwickshire’s. The average figure among other similar counties is 4.9%.
Key to Warwickshire’s success has been the Risk of NEET Indicator (RONI) which has been developed as an early identification system for young people at risk of disengaging.
Each secondary and special school has been given a RONI report for the current year 11 to target those young people specifically at risk.
Warwickshire has then commissioned targeted support to 300 year 11 young people identified as being vulnerable to becoming NEET through discussions with schools using the RONI criteria. The figure also includes all looked after children.
An agreement was reached with all post-16 year old learning providers who now issue an offer of learning to this vulnerable group in March of year 11 rather than September, known as the ‘Warwickshire March Forward Guarantee’.
Consequently, 97.2% of young people leaving year 11 go on to positive outcomes – continue in education, training, employment or voluntary and part-time activities.
The report was considered by the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Cllr Bob Hicks, Chair of the committee said: “It is very encouraging that there are so many positive outcomes for young people at the end of year 11 through to the school year that they turn 19 years old.
“Scrutiny will continue to look at the challenges faced by young people in this age group and will ensure that help and support is available to all of them, particularly vulnerable groups such as looked after children, to help them to enjoy the benefits of education and training.”
Portfolio holder for Children, Young People and Families, Cllr Heather Timms, said: “I am delighted with not only the figures but the breadth of opportunities being provided to young people, particularly in such difficult times in the job market.
“The county council works with partners including Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership to make sure that a broader spectrum of training and high quality opportunities to learn new skills is on offer, complementing the offers at school and colleges.”