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Agenda Item No. 7

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning]: 8th February 2016

 

Report of the Director of Learning and Skills

 

Youth Engagement and Progression

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To make Members aware of the progress being made to implement the Welsh Government Youth Engagement and Progression Framework and the current levels of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) young people.

Recommendations

  1. That Members consider the progress made to date on the implementation of the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework (YEPF).
  2. That Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning] receives a further progress update report in six months.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. The Council has a strategic responsibility for implementing the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework.
  2. To apprise the Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning] on progress.

Background

  1. The Youth Engagement and Progression Framework was introduced by Welsh Government on 1st October 2013. The Framework is in the second year of implementation. New targets were set out in the YEPF implementation plan to reduce the numbers of young people, aged 16-18, who are NEET in Wales to 9 per cent by 2017 and to further reduce the proportion of young people aged 19 to 24 who are NEET in Wales relative to the UK as a whole by 2017.
  2. The framework introduced two offers:-
  • The allocation of a single point of contact (lead worker) to the most at risk young people.
  • The development of a Youth Guarantee to help to ensure that every young person has access to a suitable place in learning post-16.
  1. This report seeks to make elected members aware of the progress made and the milestones achieved since the previous progress report in May 2015.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Welsh Government official statistical release on NEETs for 2015/16 is due to be released in April 2016. However, the Local Authority signed a pre-release document enabling Careers Wales to share destination data for each of the Vale Secondary schools. The annual survey of school leavers undertaken by Careers Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government, provides a useful snapshot of pupil destinations. It includes pupils in year 11 who have reached statutory school leaving age and pupils leaving school in years 12 and 13.
  2. As a result of effective implementation of the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework, there has been a consistent reduction in NEET young people in the Vale. Information about the performance of other authorities will be available in April.
 

      2013/14

         Vale

      2014/15

         Vale

         2014/15

   Welsh Average

    2015/16

       Vale

Year 11

       3.8%

       2.76%

        3.07%

      1.68%

Year 12

       2.0%

       1.78%

        1.91%

      1.5%

Year 13

       4.8%

       4.07%

        4.90%

      2.9%

         
  1. 97% of year 11 leavers entered education employment or training. 94.9% of 16-18 year olds entered education, employment or training (Appendix 1). The reduction in NEET young people has been achieved by through the following initiatives:-
  • The Council has further improved its brokerage of provision and collaborative work with a range of partners. The Engagement & Progression Coordinator (EPC) has been active in their approach to developing provision through communication with schools and preventative interventions for high risk young people.
  • The Education Improvement Grant 14-19 funding has been used to support schools in the prevention agenda enabling them to be more aware of a wide range of offers from alternative providers. This has led to a more effective and efficient use of and allocation of funds, and consistency in costs for all schools. Service Level Agreements have been drawn up between the Council and all key providers and schools. Elements of funding were used on provision for high risk young people to engage in Cardiff Military Preparatory College, Andrew Cooksley Training (ACT), and Cardiff & Vale College (CAVC).
  • Monthly sharing of tier 1 and 2 information, on potential and identified NEET young people between partners and Careers Wales has helped identify the whereabouts of 'unknown' NEET young people and improve engagement. Careers Wales and the Youth Service dedicated two weeks in October to carry out 'door knocking' to locate 'unknown' NEET young people.
  • The early identification tool (also known as the Vulnerability Assessment Profile) is in its second year of implementation; in June 2015 schools identified a total of 134 red (high risk) students across all comprehensive schools, and 266 amber (medium risk) students. Bryn Hafren indicated the highest number of red (39 students) and 43 amber students. St Cyres highlighted 24 reds and 61 amber students, followed by Llantwit Major indicating 19 red and 42 amber, and St Richard Gwyn indicating 18 red and 46 amber students. Most high risk levels appear in year groups 9 and 10.
  • During the academic year 2014/15 Guidance to Engagement (G2E) was delivered in Barry Comprehensive School. G2E in schools is aimed at young people who have been identified at risk of becoming NEET. Youth workers deliver a wide range of accredited learning opportunities based on a young person's needs. Courses include developing personal confidence and self-awareness, and understanding substance misuse. G2E was delivered to three cohorts in years 8, 9 and 10, for one hour a week ending June 2015. In addition, alternative curriculum was delivered five days a week; 2 days to year 11 and three days to year 10. Since Sept 2015 G2E in collaboration with the school has delivered two days a week for year 11 students.
  • Bryn Hafren received youth worker support in years 8 to 11 up to the end of July 2015. Since September, youth workers have been delivering G2E in CAVC one day a week to a mixture of Bryn Hafren and St Richard Gwyn pupils. (Appendix 2.Case Study).
  • The Youth Engagement and Progression Framework Grant (YEPFG) has been allocated to a youth worker to provide 12 hour intense one to one support for the young people where engagement with school, and providers has proved difficult. Since April 2015 thirteen young people have been engaged and eight progressed into full time college, part-time education and training and three are receiving support.
  1. Cowbridge, Llantwit Major, Barry, Bryn Hafren and St Cyres sixth forms have agreed to complete the early identification exercise in February 2016 for the first time. The early identification tool will enable provision to be brokered for vulnerable students resulting in higher retention for the age 16-18 cohort.
  2. The European Structural Fund (ESF) project Inspire to Achieve, is a joint project with Careers Wales and a regional group comprising of the Vale, Monmouth, Newport and Cardiff local authorities. The project will be implemented at the end of January 2016. Six youth workers will be in post to work with high risk young people, providing various engagement sessions to cohorts or one to one support. Careers Wales will provide support for placements and career planning/goal setting. Young people will be targeted using the early identification tool. The brokerage of this provision will be led by a panel in schools consisting of the Engagement & Progression Coordinator, the School Inclusion Service, the Youth Service and Careers Wales.
  3. The Common Area Prospectus for all post-16 providers across Wales was implemented from November 2015. Most schools published their post 16 curriculum offer providing course summary and provider details to better inform and promote their offer to young people. However, the pilot stage of the Common Application Process in North Wales has shown little demand for a national application system for post 16 provisions at this stage. Young people indicated a strong preference for paper or school/college website options and for direct contact with post-16 providers to support their decision-making. Additionally the need for the Welsh Government to track young people as part of the monitoring of the Youth Guarantee is being conducted through robust early identification systems now operating in many schools. Welsh Government has therefore decided to halt the development and use of the Application Process of the CAP software operating on CareersWales.com. Welsh Government and Careers Wales will focus future resources on improving the Common Area Prospectus making it a first class on-line resource for young people making their post-16 option choices
  4. The Welsh Government appointed an external agency (ICF International) to evaluate the implementation of YEPF in all local authorities in Wales. Phase one, the formative evaluation of the YEPF was published in August this year. The Vale of Glamorgan's pre 16 early identification and brokerage was featured as a best practice case study. The case study outlined management arrangements, the Engagement and Progression Coordinator function, working with a range of partners, and strategic management arrangements.
  5. The Lead Worker Network comprising members from schools, training providers, CAVC and Careers Wales meets bi monthly. Partners share information, concerns and issues, enabling direct access to providers to engage high risk young people.
  6. The Princes Trust Volunteer Programme (PTV) has delivered four programmes to date, the fifth programme is due to start in January 2016. PTV's first programme saw 83% of young people completing the programme with all entering into education or employment. 94% of young people completed the second programme with 84% achieving a positive outcome. Programme 2 and 3 combined saw 70% young people entering education or employment. Programme 3 and 4 achieved 100% completion rates.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Welsh Government allocated £50,000 in 2014/15 and 2015/16 for implementation of the framework. This has been used to fund the Youth Engagement and Progression Coordinator and specialist provision to target those young people who are hard to reach. It is uncertain whether this grant funding stream will continue in 2016/17. Reductions in 14-19 grant and Families First funding for 2016/17 are likely to place further pressure on the service. Work is being carried out to identify core funding which can be reallocated to this priority area. The ESF funding referred to in paragraph 9 will enable the current level of service to be sustained.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There are no legal implications as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. UK-wide research indicates issues associated with young people who are in the NEET category can comprise 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. Reducing the number of young people who are NEET contributes to lower levels of crime and disorder.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The Engagement and Progression Framework supports the early identification of pupils at risk of becoming NEET and enables support to be put in place to ensure equality of access to education, training and employment opportunities.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Council's Improvement Objective 5 and Learning & Skills Service Plan 2015-18 Objective 3.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. None at present.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Nisha Shukla

Engagement & Progression Officer

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham - Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

Andrew Borsden - Lead Officer, Youth and Community Learning

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill

Director of Learning and Skills

 

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