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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 24 February, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Youth Engagement and Progression Framework

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To make elected members aware of the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework and the progress being made to reduce the number of young people who are at risk of becoming NEET.

Recommendations

1.         Members consider the requirements of the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework (YEPF).

2.         Members approve the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Engagement and Progression Plan for submission to Welsh Government.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure members are aware of the scope of collaboration required to implement the YEPF.

2.         To secure Cabinet approval for the local plan.

 

Background

2.         The Welsh Government on the 1st October 2013 launched the ˜Youth Engagement and Progression Framework’(YEPF) (Appendix 1, a copy of which is provided in the Members room and on the Councils website) to ensure Local Authorities make sustained, collaborative, and effective approaches to supporting young people into sustained engagement, training and employment.

         The framework has six building blocks:

 

·               Early identification of young people at risk of disengagement;

·               Brokerage of co-ordination and support;

·               Comprehensive tracking of young people through the system;

·               Provision and progression aligned with the needs of young people;

·               Progression into employment and employment opportunities; and

·               Accountability for continuous improvement and stronger collaboration

3.         The YEPF required a local YEPF action plan (Appendix 2, a copy of which is provided in the Members room and on the Councils website) to be submitted to Welsh Government (Appendix 2) by September 2015. This must be submitted to the Welsh Government by March 14th 2014. Welsh Government has placed a responsibility on all Local Authorities in Wales for reducing NEETs. The YEPF also refers to Local Authorities being able to ensure young people have two offers.

·               The first is the allocation of single point of contact (a lead worker) to the most at-risk young people to help ensure that support is delivered in a joined up and co-ordinated way and that works to meet their needs.

·               The second is the development of a proactive and positive Youth guarantee that will help to ensure that every young person has access to a suitable place in learning post-16.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         This report contains details of what progress has been made on the development of the YEPF and how the Council's NEET Strategy will need to reflect the development of the Framework and the changes the overarching NEET Strategy Group and its Operational Group will need to incorporate into their work. The NEET Strategy Group reports to the Learning and Skills Partnership, which is part of the Local Service Board’s senior partnership structure.

5.         The NEETS Strategy Group is chaired by the Head of Strategy, Community Learning & Resources. It has representatives from Cardiff and Vale College, Vale of Glamorgan Council Youth Service and Education Welfare Service, Youth Offending Service, CYPP, Learning & Skills Partnership, 14-19 Network, Careers Wales and local training providers.

6.         The Strategy Group has recently revised arrangements for partners reporting on progress and has strengthened its monitoring of outcomes. The group is developing an overview of the progress of young people post-16, the issues they and the providers face and where there are gaps in provision. The collated information will inform the Employment Skills Action Plan and the development of provision and curriculum content of training providers.  The group will establish an Information Sharing Protocol by 31st March 2014. The Council has mapped provision and training providers to develop a directory of proven outcome-based provision which is available to meet the needs of young people to enable them to progress into EET.

7.         Careers Wales (CW) are key partners and have been working closely with the Council in the development of the YEPF. CW chairs the NEET Operational Group, which brings together training providers, youth providers and develops new provision for NEET young people. Currently the Group is engaged in the sharing of information on young people through the use of a single entry or consent form which is common across agencies and training providers. The Group is also engaged in consulting with young people to establish their views on available provision and employment aspirations. The consultation will also explore barriers to engagement and employment.

8.         CW undertakes an annual Destination Survey of all year 11 pupils. This report is distributed widely and is available on their website.  It is used as a national indicator allowing comparisons across local authority areas. This type of analysis allows both schools and other support services to target provision to those most in need in addition to the Welsh Government's 5 Tier model (Appendix 3, a copy of which is provided in the Members room and on the Councils website) the Council is required to develop and Early Identification (EI) tool to complement the CW model.

9.         The Council has used information and guidance supplied by Welsh Government on the development of an EI tool and has developed a data model which uses data on students supplied by schools for the Pupil Level Annual School Census return. The model draws on contextual and qualitative data including, attendance, attainment, free school meals, SEN, Looked After Children, exclusions, reading and numerative ability, and predicted results at Key stage 4.  The data is them collated and sifted to produce a list of students who are most at risk of becoming NEET pre 16. (Appendix 4, a copy of which is provided in the Members room and Councils website). The information will be used to target services those most likely to become NEET young people.

10.       Data on NEETs is also presented via the Welsh Government's 5 Tier Model (Appendix 3). This consists of a monthly NEETs statistic showing the total number of young people 16-18 cohort, those who are positively engaged, those perceived as at risk of becoming NEET, those known to be registered with CW as NEET and those who remain unknown at any given point. The model is reviewed at each Strategy Group meeting, together with an update on the data. The model is Welsh Government's   preferred method for gathering and sharing information on young people post 16.

11.      The YEPF also requires the development of a Lead Worker role. Some local authorities' have established a new position to undertake this role working with youth services and schools.  In the Vale the Lead Worker function is already established in current services in the guise of Youth Workers, the Youth Offending team, Education Welfare workers, training providers and so on. It will be imperative to ensure all of these agencies are aware of the YEPF and its aims and objectives and that they are able to deliver the Youth Guarantee.

12.      No direct funding stream exists to deliver work on NEETs, although most statutory partners have guidance from Welsh Government, which outlines how they should be working towards shared agendas on NEETs. The 14-19 Network has been responsible for work which has been very significant in providing increased choice and progression opportunities for hundreds of learners in the Vale, helping to reduce the number of young people not engaged. This has included college courses, shared and mixed classes in schools, expanding volunteering opportunities, extended work experience and Learning Coach support. However this funding is being allocated on a regional basis rather than locally, and has been reduced significantly for 2014/15 thus reducing opportunities for young people.

13.      The Council will be using the YEPF to ensure its education services are targeted at those most at risk of becoming NEET in an efficient and proactive way. This will mean the avoidance of duplication of effort by improved communication between partners, internal departments, and improved leadership and management techniques to widen the view point of service providers. The YEPF will ensure greater collaboration between partners and the maximum use of available funding streams to meet the challenge of reducing numbers of NEET young people.

14.      Many Families First funded projects support work with NEETs. These include Gateway to Engagement (25-35 students per year) and the Partnership for Young Parents which targets young mothers (15 per year) and is run in partnership with Flying Start. The transition to Families First Funding has changed the way this funding can be used and has led to a move away from individual projects to working around a whole family.

15.      Through Communities First Funding several initiatives have been developed to deliver targeted work within the cluster areas, the three main themes are: Learning Communities, Prosperous Communities and Healthy Communities. Within Learning Communities, 3 projects have commenced with effect from November 2013 to help target those not in education, employment or training.

16.      The WG believes the Statutory Youth Service has a pivotal role to play in the development of the YEPF and how its diverse informal and non-formal learning techniques can be used to support schools, school improvement and educational services. This allows formal and informal work with all young people to take place but with a specific emphasis on young people at risk. The Youth Service will continue to run a mobile information service for the harder to reach young people. The Youth Service will be using its allocation of revenue funding from WG to target working with schools to carry out intervention with young people who are at risk of becoming NEET. In addition, the Youth Service has established a Youth Provider Network (YPN) to develop, monitor and support the framework and help ensure a more joined up approach across the authority.

17.      The Education Welfare Service addresses education and non-attendance issues in schools. Education Welfare Officers (EWO) and three Callio workers (employed by schools) identify and target those at risk pre-16; they have had a positive effect in significantly reducing the number of non-attendees. They will need to work in tandem with other lead roles and will have a key role to play in the Early Identification model and the monitoring of attendance.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

18.      Reducing the number of NEETs is a high level political priority. Resources will need to be directed to implementation of the YEPF to ensure the council meets its obligation to reduce the number of NEETS.  The Youth Service will need to be reconfigured to ensure that it can respond effectively.  This matter is subject to a separate report on this agenda.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

19.      Reductions in the number of NEET young people can support vibrant and sustainable communities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

20.      There are no legal implications including human right implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

21.      Research suggests that supported young people who are identified as floating 'NEET' or at risk of NEET are less likely to engage in anti social activity.

22.      The range of issues associated with young people in the NEET category comprises low educational attainment, homelessness, gang membership, early criminalisation, drug culture and dependency, care needs, teenage pregnancy, prostitution and, in many or even most cases, multiple and overlapping disadvantage, for example, pregnancy, drug dependency and crime.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

23.      The Youth Guarantee will increase opportunities for young people and will also be available bi-lingually in the medium of welsh and to those with additional learning needs.

Corporate/Service Objectives

24.      Corporate Improvement Objective 5, to reduce the number of young people who are not in employment education or training (NEET). Reducing the number of young people not in education, employment or training is a key national priority, the strategic approach to which is set out in Welsh Government's 2011-2015 Youth Engagement and Employment action plan.

Policy Framework and Budget

25.      This is a matter for Executive Decision

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

26.      None

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

27.      Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Andrew Borsden Lead Officer Youth & Community Learning

01446 709148

 

Officers Consulted

Mark Davies - Children and Young Peoples Partnership Manager

Nisha Shukla - Learning and Skills Officer

Lynette Jones - Head of School Improvement

Paula Ham - Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources.

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill

Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

 

 

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