Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)

From Summer 2015 young people have a statutory duty to participate in learning or training until their 18th birthday. The options available include full time education at school or college, an Apprenticeship or Traineeship, other full time work including volunteering alongside part-time education or training, and re-engagement provision for those previously out of learning
The Young People’s Service, part of Slough Borough Council, is responsible for delivering the duties under the Education and Skills Act 2008 (ESA 2008) section 68. Young People’s Service has a responsibility to encourage, enable and assist young people for whom they are responsible, to participate in education or training. Furthermore, the service has a duty to promote young people’s participation up to the age of 18 by 2015. The NEET prevention and NEET reduction work carried out by the Young People’s Service remains key to the council’s ambition of ensuring Slough is a place where people can make good choices about where to live and work and where children can grow up to achieve their full potential.

What do we know?

Most 16 or 17 year olds already continue in some form of education or training. ALL young people should have the chance to develop the skills they need for adult life. Continuing in learning provides the best opportunity to get the qualifications, knowledge and practical skills to see them succeed. This is true whether they are thinking of going into further or higher education, going for an Apprenticeship, or looking for a job. There is evidence that getting qualifications at this age can help young people earn more over their whole lifetime — for example young people with two or more ‘A Levels’ earn around 14% more than those without.

Evidence also indicates that the following groups of young people are more likely to become NEET;

  • Young people in or leaving our care system
  • Young people who have NOT secured GCSE A* - C English and Mathematics
  • Young people who have secured English and Mathematics GCSE at grade C but only with significant support from schools (this is the group most likely to drop out of post 16 education)
  • Young people who have not received good careers information, advice & guidance and as a result end up signing on to the wrong post 16 college courses.
  • Young females who are at risk of teenage pregnancy
  • Young males who have become teenage fathers
  • Young people with multiple issues that they need support with before being in a position to consider sustainable EET opportunities

Young people who are not in employment, education or training miss the opportunity to reach their full potential and achieve their ambitions. They are likely to feel bored and isolated. These young people are at far greater risk of negative outcomes such as protracted unemployment, poor health, depression, insecure housing or homelessness and criminal behaviors that may persist and impact long into their adult lives. They are likely to perpetuate a cycle of deprivation that leads to a legacy cost to any children they might have and an intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.

These young people will also experience a financial cost which impacts and constrains income. These lifetime earnings are significantly below those of their more successful peers.

As well as personal costs to the individual, there are significant costs to society. In the Audit Commission’s report Against the Odds, it was estimated that a young person who is NEET would cost an average of £56,000 in public finance costs before reaching retirement age. Costs include welfare payments, health and criminal justice services and the loss of tax and national insurance revenues. There will also be an estimated £104,000 in opportunity costs to each individual. The economy of spending power, welfare loss to individuals and their families and the massively impact the public purse through the rest of society. Using the 2008 NEET 16-18 cohort (208,000 young people) as a basis for calculation, the Audit Commission estimated a cost of £13 billion to the public purse and £22 billion in opportunity costs before the cohort reaches retirement age.

Facts, Figures, Trends

Department for Education annual estimates of young people aged 16-18 not in education, employment or training.
(NB: The end of year outturn i.e. 2014 is an average rate of Nov -14, Dec-14 and Jan-15)

  • At the end of 2014, an estimated 200 young people in Slough were NEET thus representing 4% of the 16-18 population, a decrease from 6.1% in 2013 (Data for 2012 – 4.9%)
  • The estimated proportion of NEETs in Slough in 2014 was marginally below the South East regional average (4.5%) and below the average of Slough’s statistical neighbours (4.7%) and the England rate (4.9%)
  • NEET rate increased with on age group though broadly in line with national statistics: 2.1% of 16 year old were NEET, increasing to 3.1% of 17 year olds, and 7.5% of 18 year olds –Slough’s performance placed us in the 2nd Quintile
  • At the end of 2014 the number of young people aged 16-18 whose activity was not known to the local authority was 9.3% (increase from 7.6% in 2013 and 6.6% in 2012). However, this is well below the average South East regional average (12.5%)
  • During the Financial Year 2015/16 the NEET ‘ Not Known’ has remained below the service target of 5%, the Quarter 1 (Q1) snapshot (Data source: Slough IYSS MI) illustrated that the 'Not Known' rate was 1.7% (June 2015). This figure remains below the England average of 7.3% (Not Known)

This information is taken from the Department for Education’s National Client Caseload Information System (NCCIS).

The Risk of NEET Indicator (RONI) is a tool that identifies young people in school who have risk factors for becoming NEET. This high risk cohort can then be targeted for interventions.

In 2013/14 there were 1740 Slough pupils in year 11. Of this, 224 young people were identified throughout the year as at risk of becoming NEET, this equates to 13% of the total Year 11 cohort. By January 2014, 84% of the RONI cohorts were meeting the Department of Education (DfE) duty to participate. 13% of the RONI cohort recorded a destination description that did not meet the duty to participate; of which 4.5% were in employment without training or volunteering. Only 3% of the RONI cohort settled into an apprenticeship.

Table 1 identifies the destination of those identified as being risk of need (RONI) at the end of the transition period (January 2015) and the Participation Status.

Table 1. Destination of those identified as at Risk of NEET

Table 1

Although Teenage Parent is coded as NEET, under the DfE duty to participate it is classified as ‘Temporary Break’ and not ‘Not Participating’.

It is important to note that setting destinations is largely a manual process and errors can be made when selecting codes, particularly within the NEET or Employment codes.

The highest proportion of RONIs were residents of Baylis & Stoke; relating to 11% of the cohort. This is closely followed by Cippenham Meadows with 10%. Britwell & Northborough, Chalvey, Cippenham Green, Elliman, Farnham and Langley Kidderminster wards contribute approximately 8% of RONIs.

Data for 2014/15 will be available at the end of Feb 16 as the process continues until Jan 16 to ensure young people have sustained this destination post year 11.

National & Local Strategies (Current Best Practice)

As part of the Raising Participation Age (RPA) legislation, Slough has a duty to track the participation of all 16-19 year old residents of the Slough Borough to record individual activity on a national database. Young People’s Service provides an integral function on behalf of Slough Borough Council.

The three core functions that relate to the Young People’s Services NEET prevention and NEET reduction work are:

  • Early identification and Tracking of young people at risk of becoming NEET – RONI (Risk of NEET Indicator)
  • Monitoring and Recording – to know exactly what the EET status is off all young people up to the end of year 14 cohort
  • Supporting Young People to make appropriate moves from NEET to Education, employment or training

RPA legislation also places a duty on schools and colleges to notify the Local Authority in which the young person is resident if they ‘drop out’ so support can be provided to enable them to re-engage. Since 2012, destination measures have been published by the Department for Education to show the progression of young people at 16

Examples of Best Practice

NEET Prevention Working in Partnership with Schools /Colleges and Learning Provider
The September Guarantee requires local authorities (Slough Young People’s Service), to find education and training places for 16- and 17-year-olds, to help ensure that every young person has the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications to help them progress to higher education, work and prosper in adult life. Offers should be appropriate to meet the young person’s needs and can include:

  • full-time education in school sixth-forms or colleges
  • an apprenticeship
  • a traineeship
  • employment combined with part-time education or training

In 2014 the proportion of 16 and 17 year olds in Slough receiving an offer of a place in education or training is consistently above the national (93.2%) and South East averages (90.8%). Young People’s Service at 2014 achieved 95.8% for its September guarantee work placing it in the second quintiles for its performance throughout the county (an increase from 93.0% from the previous year).

RONI Project:
There are various risk factors associated with young people who become ‘NEET’, particularly those whom are classified as vulnerable young people. These include educational attainment at school, truancy and exclusion and a perceived lack of information about employment, education and training opportunities post-16.
Some of these factors are associated with;

  • Lack of parental support
  • Low self-esteem
  • Deprivation levels in their neighbourhood.

Understanding these characteristics and addressing them through earlier intervention to reduce the likelihood of many young people becoming NEET.

The Young People’s Service in collaborate a strength based partnership with local schools which has continued to offer support to more vulnerable young people year 11 through the RONI project. The RONI is a tool that identifies young people in school who trigger NEET characteristics. Information is then shared and distributed with School to ensure these young people are offered the appropriate additional support. Young People’s Service provide and deliver interventions for a number of these young people.

Thames Valley Berkshire - City Deal Slough
On 28 October 2013 all six unitary authorities within Berkshire and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) signed a City Deal Document. The Thames Valley Berkshire City Deal will focus on increasing the participation of 16-24 year olds in education, training and work, to develop work-related skills and to streamline the pathway to employment for young people. The Deal will run for three years from 1 April 2014. In Slough the City Deal ( be delivered by a wide range of partners working together under the strategic leadership and coordination of Slough Aspire. City Deal Slough provides an opportunity to collectively address the skills gaps and unemployment and underemployment of the 16-24 year old population to improve the infrastructure of the county area and promote economic growth.

Slough City Deal - Key aims

  • Address the skills gaps and unemployment and underemployment of the 16-24 year old population
  • Achieve 50% reduction in youth unemployment within 3 years
  • Secure £1.5 million of private sector investment to support employment and up skilling of young people
  • Generate 1,300 new employment opportunities for young people including helping 800 sustain work for at least six months
  • Develop new approaches to help more young people into sustainable

Although City Deal is a 3 year initiative, funding ends at March 2016. Young People’s Service perform a crucial and critical role in the development and maintenance of the initiative.

What is this telling us?

Risk of NEET Indicator (RONI) data and September Guarantee from 2014 indicates that a high number Slough students at the end of their compulsory schooling, but before they receive their GCSE results, has a positive intended destination and offer of education, employment or training post 16. They were predominantly either planning on staying on at school or going to college. However, for some, there is a mismatch between aspirations and reality with then result is them dropping out and become NEET. Young People’s Service would like to establish the RONI process of earlier in schools i.e. year 9 however there would be funding implications to do this. This would allow greater support and preparation of undertaking those at high risk of becoming NEET in order that they make a successful and sustained transition.
Although good joined up working processes have been put in place between the Young People’s Service; Virtual Schools and LAC / Leaving Care Teams there is still a need for more collaborative working with schools and these services to ensure that young people in the care system have a greater chance of successful transitions than the current situation.

There is a need to reduce the drop out and non starts at years 12 & 13 – although the non starts have had offers on to programmes there are other barriers that need to be overcome in their lives and this needs to be enhanced by good careers information, advice & guidance and the need for more effective multi agency working.
A number of young people who become NEET have not benefitted from our prevention work due to the fact that they are not educated in Slough schools. As a result they will only come to our attention post 16 – there is a need to further develop work with neighboring schools and local authorities who have a high percentage of slough young people in their establishments.

Due to the RPA and preventive measures that are in place, young people become NEET at a greater level at academic years 13 & 14 when they either drop out of or complete post 16 programmes. This indicates a need for effective IAG and support to successfully manage transitions during these pivotal years.
There is a need to enhance support for vulnerable young people such as those in or leaving the care system who have multiple and complex life issues – this includes raising aspirations and inspiring them from an early age. Multi agency working between LAC / Leaving Care teams, the virtual school, SEN teams and others such as the Young People Services needs to be cultivated and start earlier in the young persons life, If ‘narrowing the gap’ between the success rates for these young people compared to others is to be a reality. Evolving and enhancing Board Level participation and emerging cross cutting themes needs to be addressed to secure our transformation of working with young people and not leaving anyone behind.

What are the key inequalities?

A small proportion of students choose to continue their learning post 16 outside the Borough.
For the majority, this involves lengthy and costly journeys by public transport for which they are ill-prepared and the possibility they will become NEET.

What are the unmet needs/ service gaps?

  • Provision in-year for those who drop out of learning and become NEET
  • Continued guidance and support to meet the needs of those who make a incorrect choice at 16 or need encouragement to reengage with learning
  • High quality progression routes and provision that is appropriate in terms of content, delivery and timing. This includes;
    • flexibility to pick up those who make the wrong choice
    more practical and non-classroom based learning provision
  • More specific opportunities to engage with employers
  • Ongoing support and mentoring for young people who are at risk of disengaging post 16
  • Earlier intervention with RONIs – at Year 9
  • Need to ‘narrow the gap’ in relation to success rates of sustained transition for vulnerable groups as outlined in the above section.

Recommendations for Consideration by other Key Organisations:

  • SEN Data on NEETs to be secured from the new Slough Children’s Service Trust
  • Sharing information with appropriate agencies via the Education & Health Care Plans
  • Continue to develop, enhance and foster the joined up working relationships between the Slough Children’s Service Trust; Schools; Cambridge Education and quintessential Council Services

See also