Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar said: “Supporting young people to continue their education or training is one of our key priorities, and I’m very proud of our success in this area, supported by schools, parents and carers. With almost 27,000 young people turning 16 or 17 years old in Hampshire last year, we have a bigger need to meet than most other local authorities in England. Nonetheless we are exceeding both the national average, and the performance of all other authorities in England that have a similar number of young people.
“Of course we cannot be complacent about our strong performance and we will continue to push for even more opportunities for young people - not just in colleges, but in apprenticeships, traineeships and other learning programmes that give young people the skills they will need to help them enjoy successful, lifelong employment. We also work with local industry and economic partners to help target learning towards local skills needs, ensuring that young people can contribute to the local economy, as well as securing their futures.”
A young person reaching the age of 16 or 17 is entitled to an offer of a place in education or training the following year, by the end of September. This is known as the ‘September Guarantee’.
Local authorities are required to lead the September Guarantee process for all 16 year olds educated in their area, and for all 17 year olds living in their area. As well as tracking and monitoring what young people decide to do, the County Council’s Education Participation Team identifies young people who have not yet made firm decisions, and works closely with education and training providers to help find the right place for them. This can involve long term support to help young people plan their futures, and build confidence and motivation.
The Department for Education has recently published data to show local authorities’ performance in providing the September Guarantee across England. Hampshire County Council’s performance puts it significantly above the national average of 94.5%, and among the highest in the south of England.
With some 27,000 young people reaching the age they are entitled to further education, last year, Hampshire is one of only seven authority areas in England that had more than 20,000 young people to support. Of these seven areas, Hampshire also had the highest number of young people entering further education or training.This strong performance is reflected by a correspondingly low number of young people in the county who are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET). At 1.7%, Hampshire’s proportion of NEET young people is well below the national average of 2.7%.