Improving Outcomes for Learners Post 16. Patrick Leeson Corporate Director. 14 – 24 Strategy.
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Our ambition is for all young people in Kent to become better qualified and more employable; to be able to participate and achieve success in education and work based training at least until the age of 18; and to ensure more 18 to 24 year olds can access higher learning or sustained employment that is appropriate to their needs and relevant to the local
and national economy.
Our strategy is designed to achieve a fundamental shift in the education system in Kent, towards a more comprehensive academic and vocational offer for young people aged 14 to 24 and to make the changes needed to build a learning and skills system fit for the future.
This means more rapid development in Kent whereby the work of schools, colleges and employers become better integrated and responsive to the needs of young people and the economy, and young people have access to the highest quality and levels of 14-19 education and training
It is a significant challenge for the Kent economy and the education system in the county if nearly half of all 16 year old boys are not educated to a standard that would enable them to access an apprenticeship or progress to many of the vocational and academic pathways that are available post 16
We are enormously challenged, still, to ensure all young people achieve the levels of literacy, numeracy and IT competence required for a skilled job in the modern economy. We are also challenged to develop the range and diversity of vocational courses required to ensure all young people’s aptitudes and interests are developed for their future sustained employment in a world of work that is innovating fast.
In Kent we have specific shortcomings.
These are all priorities for improvement as part of this strategy.
The NEET figure for Kent continues to fall, with 5.1% of 16 to 18 year olds at the end of the last academic year not in education employment or training. This compares to 6.3% in 2012.
The number of young people who are not known has shown the most significant decline to 1.9%. This out performs all the other South East local authority areas. It is an impressive result especially as we move to the implementation of Raising the Participation Age for 17 and 18 year olds.
One of our key priorities is to do more to support all young people aged 16 to 18 to access appropriate learning pathways or employment with training.
The figures for the September Guarantee are significantly improved on last year. In July 2012, 28% of 16 year olds had no offer of learning or employment with training, compared to 16% in July 2013. This figure is now 12% and will reduce further, which means there are 2335 students aged 16 currently without a post 16 offer. Targeted work is taking place with this group to ensure they have a learning or training destination in the coming weeks.
The figures for 17 year olds are also improving, but are higher. In July 2012, 34% of 17 year olds were without an offer of further learning or employment with training, compared to 26% in September 2013. This means there are 4677 young people aged 17 currently without a clear learning or employment destination, which is a concern. This reflects a continuing high drop out rate at age 17, which we must address with more effort in partnership with schools and colleges.
We continue to expand the opportunities for Apprenticeships. There are currently over 303 apprenticeship starts employed within KCC and over 145 schools have also taken on their own apprentices. We have also placed over 430 unemployed 17 to 24 years olds in an apprenticeship scheme in recent months.
This work, through the Kent Employment Programme in the Skills and Employability Service, has made a major contribution to reducing the number of unemployed 18 to 24 year old young people by 1300 from this time last year.
Overall there are currently 2011 apprentices aged 16-18, which is a decrease on the previous year, but we expect this figure to show substantial improvement when the next figures are published in November.
In Kent 70% of schools are now good or outstanding. This includes 75% of Secondary schools, 68% of Primary schools and 80% of Special Schools.
This represents a significant increase on the 59% of schools rated good and outstanding just over a year ago, and 55% 2 years ago. 21 schools do not have an Ofsted judgement at present. Kent’s percentage improvement in schools moving to good in the past year is 11%.
In Kent 16% of schools are outstanding and 54% are good, compared to 20% outstanding and 58%good nationally. Our priority is to close the gap with the national picture, and exceed it.
Currently there are 141 (24%) mainstream schools requiring improvement, excluding Pupil Referral Units. This is a significant improvement compared to September 2012 when there were 211 (37%) Primary and Secondary schools requiring improvement.
There are 20 schools in an Ofsted category, which is the same number as in September 2012. While 11 schools successfully came out of category in the past year 15 schools were judged to be inadequate by Ofsted. Our aim is to ensure no Kent school goes into an Ofsted category of concern.
One of our biggest challenges now is to ensure every school requiring improvement becomes a good school within the next two years, and that we continue to work together in partnership to ensure no good and outstanding schools decline.