Sarah Tregaskis - Service Manager - Education Services Trading, Development and Delivery presented the report which is an overview of the data for Warwickshire, in comparison with national figures and statistical neighbours.
It was confirmed that the term NEETS refers to young people who are not in education, employment or training. Once identified, officers will work to re-engage with them and help them to progress.
The term “not know” refers to young people whose status in relation to education, employment or training is not known to officers and in some cases, officers are unaware where a young person is because they do not want to engage
The following points were highlighted to the committee –
· Warwickshire’s proportion of young people participating in education and training is higher than that of England, the West Midlands and statistical neighbour average.
· Warwickshire maintained a high level of engagement with NEETS during covid at 94.9%.
· In relation to the types of participation it was noted that most of the young people stay on in Further Education. Some young people go into apprenticeships, and this is slightly under the national average but work is ongoing to improve this.
· The September guarantee for 2021 data shows that the number of Young People in Warwickshire who have been offered a suitable post 16 place (appropriate to their qualifications/needs/experiences) was 98.7% which is higher than the national figure of 95.5%
· The information published annually by the Department for Education (DfE) shows that the number of NEETS in Warwickshire reduced.
· The DfE information also showed the number for “not known” young people has also reduced.
· The committee noted that the majority of NEETs are in the Nuneaton & Bedworth district and 50% of those young people have a vulnerable marker. Officers are aware of the vulnerabilities and working closely with each person.
· It was confirmed that officers are working with the Chamber of Commerce to identify apprenticeship vacancies that would be suitable for Warwickshire Young People
Following a question from Councillor Brett Beetham, Sarah Tregaskis confirmed that since Covid, there has been an obvious change in how officers are able to engage with young people. The mental health support available to young people has increased and this has helped. The support offered isn’t static, and this seems to be working well for Warwickshire.
Councillor Pete Gilbert asked if the data for the Nuneaton & Bedworth district could be split into the two areas. Nuneaton and Bedworth are two different places with different needs and different opportunities and it isn’t always helpful to have just one set of data. It was agreed that Sarah Tregaskis would provide the information for each ward.
Councillor Jill Simpson-Vince asked if officers were always getting placements right after looking at the data in relation to young people who drop out; and if there were enough places in Warwickshire. It was confirmed that the Post-16 Sufficiency is something that officers regularly look at and refer to the number of pupils coming through schools to ensure there are enough places. There are regular dialogues in place.
Sarah Tregaskis confirmed that the monthly data for NEETS will always show peaks and troughs – for example, every August everyone is NEET as the academic year hasn’t started. However, each month, the data shows that Warwickshire is outperforming our statistical neighbours and the national figure. The same young people are not tracked every month due to placements ending or starting or the young person dropping out. Officers are working on sustained destination and it was agreed that further information on this would be provided to members.
Councillor Marian Humphries stated that the report highlights the brilliant work that is being done by officers at Warwickshire County Council to help young people to get ready for the road ahead. The committee wished it to be noted that officers are doing a fabulous job.