Agenda Item No. 8

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee: 16th October 2018

 

Report of the Director of Learning and Skills

 

Youth Engagement and Progression

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To make Members aware of the six month progress of the implementation of the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework (YEPF) and current levels of young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

Recommendations

  1. That Members consider the progress made in the last six months of the implementation of the YEPF to reduce the number of young people NEET in the Vale of Glamorgan.
  2. That Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee receives a further progress update report in 12 months.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. The Council has a strategic responsibility for implementing the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework to reduce the number of young people Not in Education Employment or Training.
  2. That the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee has continued oversight of the YEPF.

Background

  1. The YEPF implementation plan set targets 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. This report seeks to make elected members aware of the progress made in the Vale of Glamorgan in respect of reducing NEETs and the milestones achieved.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Welsh Government official statistical data on NEETs for 2017 was released in April 2018. The annual survey of school leavers undertaken by Careers Wales in October of each year on behalf of the Welsh Government provides a 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. The data indicates that NEETs levels for all three year groups fell in 2017 which is very positive.
  2. The Youth Engagement and Progression Framework since its implementation in 2014 have been instrumental in reducing the number of young people NEET in the Vale.
  3. In Year 11 the number of young people who are NEET has reduced considerably over the last year from 1.61% to 0.95%.  This is significantly below the Welsh average of 1.60% and is now the 3rd lowest Local Authority figure in Wales compares to 7th position in 2016.
  4. In Year 12 the NEET figure has also reduced significantly from 1.03% in 2016 to 0.65% in 2017.  This again is well below the Welsh average of 1.0% and places the Vale in joint 5th position in Wales compared to 15th position in 2016.
  5. Year 13 NEETs figure reduced from 3.07% in 2016 to 2.85% in 2017.  Vale ranking, however, fell from 11th place in 2016 to 13th in 2017 when compared to other Local Authorities in Wales.
  6. Gaining accurate destinations data for Year 13 leavers is challenging. The LA will be working closely with Careers Wales to ensure that Year 13 destinations data is accurate when collected from schools.   The LA will also be working closely with schools to ensure that all Year 13 leavers data is available.  Where destinations are not known, the LA will seek to contact these individuals directly to ascertain their destination. It is also intended to work with schools to utilise UCAS reports to further ensure accuracy of destination count.
  7. The reduction of NEETs in Years 11, 12 and 13 in the Vale has been due to various programmes and initiatives which are summarised below.
  8. Schools continue to implement the Early Identification tool that enables the identification of young people who are at risk of becoming NEET. Young people are categorised as RED, AMBER, and GREEN depending on an assessment of risk factors. This exercise is carried out twice a year by heads of KS3/4 in all educational settings. 
  9. Panel meetings are set in schools following the Early Identification to offer the high risk young people provision through the European Social Fund programme Inspire to Achieve (I2A) for year groups 7 - 11, to reduce the number of those at risk of becoming NEET. During the academic year there were 114 enrolments onto the programme. The programme has set three common results indicators to measure impact of participants at risk of becoming NEET which are: 'gaining qualifications upon leaving'; 'in education, employment or training upon leaving'; and 'at reduced risk of becoming NEET upon leaving'.
  10. There were 55 participants across year groups 8-11 who were identified as being at a reduced risk of becoming NEET. Nine pupils completed recognised qualifications in a BTEC course. 38 participants were recorded as progressing into further education and vocational training in September 2017.
  11. Inspire to Work (I2W) is a three year European Social Fund (ESF) initiative to reduce the number of 16-24 year olds NEET. Inspire2Work is designed to identify and address the needs of 16-24 year old NEETS in bringing about their sustainable integration into the labour market and thereby contribute to a reduction in youth unemployment.  Both programmes are managed in partnership with regional partners. These include City and County of Cardiff, Newport County Council, Monmouthshire County Council, Careers Wales, Llamau and Gwent and Cardiff and Vale Colleges. The lead agency and strategic oversight to Newport County Council. The programme saw 43 young people enrolled onto the programme during 2017/18. 32 participants completed recognised qualifications and 26 participants entered employment.  
  12. Official ESF I2A Progression data into education or training for 2017/18 year 11 leavers will not be available until the end of this academic year 2018/19.
  13. Other provision outside of the ESF project is also offered by the Engagement and Progression Co-ordinator. The main providers we are working with are Empire Fighting Chance (EFC), Associated Community Training (ACT), Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) and Military Preparatory College (MPC).
  14. In 2017/18 academic year, a total of 135 students from Vale comprehensive schools attended CAVC on the 14-16 learning pathways programme, 118 of which were working towards achieving Level 1 and 2 in hair & beauty, hairdressing, retail and automotive. 
  15. Nine pupils from the Vale attended the Junior Apprenticeship programme from year 11; seven pupils completed the programme achieving a level 2 threshold, gaining vocational qualifications in 'vehicle inspection', 'construction', 'team work and personal development in the community' in June 2018.
  16. Military Preparatory College Training (MPCT) had 132 Vale pupils attend their 14-16 learning pathways programme in 2018 achieving a total of 149 qualifications in Level 1 and 2 certificates, extended certificates in employability skills, (City and Guilds) and BTEC qualifications.
  17. Empire Fighting Chance (EFC) have been delivering their peer mentor training and emotional support programme for the second year in the Vale to pupils who are at risk of exclusions or are in the PRU. EFC engaged a total of 21 pupils from KS3 and KS4 in 2017/18 from the PRU, St Richard Gwyn School and Whitmore High. The programme provided one to one and group based support. The young people identified were showing signs of complex social/emotional or behavioural difficulties. The programme included developing basic boxing skills, personal development techniques including confidence and resilience building. Overall, pupils showed improved confidence and engagement, feedback from young people was positive, even though pupils were of varying personalities they all adopted an ethos of support and productivity. Noticeable improvements have been recorded in improved behaviour, and increased attendance at school.
  18. The Lead Worker Network continues to meet bi-monthly to discuss provision offers for pre and post 16 education/training and share best practice. Careers Wales share information on young people who have been unemployed with long term with providers. The Network is supportive and collaborates well with Careers Wales and the Local Authority. A list of unknown NEET young people aged 16-18 is circulated monthly amongst partners who have signed the Wales Accord for Sharing Personal Information (WASPI) to help identify the whereabouts young people. The Local Authority now has access to the Careers Wales database to view NEET data.
  19. The Youth Engagement and Progression Board overseas the Lead Worker Network and monitors the Welsh Government Youth Engagement and Progression Framework annual grant work plans.  The board ensures the reduction of NEET in the Vale and relative to Wales as a whole, by monitoring performance, NEET data and ensure tracking of vulnerable groups.
  20.      A group has been established to track the engagement of  post 16 Children Looked After (CLA). This group is made up of representatives are from Social Services, Careers Wales, CLA team and the Youth Engagement and Progression Co-ordinator. A review meeting will take place in November 2018.     

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The Youth Service grant and Youth Engagement and Progression Framework grant merged in 2017-18. The YEPF grant for 2018/19 has been reduced by 10% from last year, the grant has helped secure the YEPF co-ordinator role and specialist provision for vulnerable young people who are particularly hard to engage.

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. The range of issues associated with young people who are in the NEET category 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. This report supports the Council's Wellbeing Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale, Corporate Objective 5 'Raising overall standards of achievement'.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. None

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Learning and Culture

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Nisha Shukla, Engagement & Progression Co-ordinator

Officers Consulted

David Davies, Head of Achievement for All

Andrew Borsden, Lead Officer for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing

Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham, Director of Learning and Skills