Recently released Department for Education figures show that 10 percent of disadvantaged 16-18 year olds in East Anglia were not in education, employment or training (NEET) at the end of 2021.
Those who have been in care or on free school meals are far more likely than their counterparts to be NEET. Among those who have not faced these disadvantages, just 3.4 percent are NEET – well below the national average .
Thurrock is the Local Authority in the East of England with the largest gap between disadvantaged young people and their peers, at 10 percentage points.
NEET rates nationally at low levels
Across the UK, 6.4 percent of 16-18 year olds were NEET at the end of the year. This is a reduction of 0.3 percentage points, and just one percentage point higher than the lowest figure on record, in 2016. The rate is slightly higher for boys and young men than it is for their female colleagues – 7.2 percent as opposed to 5.6 percent.
For those aged 18, who are above the age of compulsory education, the NEET rate hit its lowest recorded figure, at 9.3 percent. While numbers in education have decreased, employment rates for 18 year olds have increased.
Nacro calls for Pupil Premium Plus
Social justice charity Nacro has called for a “Pupil Premium Plus” to help address unequal outcomes for young people.
Pupil Premium is funding allocated to schools and local authorities to provide additional support for children and young people who are on free school meals, or who are or have been in care. Currently, this funding ends at 16, but Nacro wants to see it extended to 18.
Elise Temple, Director of Education and Skills at Nacro, said that the gap between disadvantaged young people and their peers “remains stubbornly wide”, and that “more needs to be done”.
Temple called for the introduction of a “Pupil Premium Plus” which would give schools and colleges “specific funding for each disadvantaged young person”. She argues that the additional funding would enable institutions “to tailor help to the pupil’s needs, be it tutoring, holistic help, or extra support”, saying it is “the only way we can truly level the playing field for all pupils and ensure that no young person is left behind.”