The proportion of young people in England not in education, employment or training – known as Neets – has fallen to its lowest level for 20 years, thanks to a larger number staying on at school, new government figures show.
Some 81% of 16-18-year-olds were in education or work-based learning at the end of 2013, an increase of two percentage points since the previous year, while the proportion of Neets fell from 9.2% in 2012 to 7.6% in 2013 – the lowest level since similar records began in 1994.
Participation in full-time education among 16-18-year-olds rose to its highest-ever level of 70% at the end of 2013, with the increase divided between those who stayed on at school and those who went into higher education. Nearly 94% of all 16-year-olds were in education or work-based learning, while 12,000 fewer 16-year-olds were classified as Neets.
The improvement follows legislation raising the school leaving age, with 2013 being the first year that 16-17-year-olds are required to be in full-time education or vocational training. The participation age will rise again next year to 18.
Matthew Hancock, the skills and enterprise minister, said the changes would benefit the prospects of thousands of young people across England: “A clearer link from education to work, more rigour, and record numbers of apprenticeships have all helped give more young people what they need to get the jobs available.”
How how do these facts pair up with Magaret Hodg’s findings? You tell me!