Hundreds of Devon teenagers missing out on education and training

Photo of a girl during an exam. Picture: PA Wire

Photo of a girl during an exam. Picture: PA Wire - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Department of Education figures show that 756 16 and 17-year-olds could be missing out on education or training after leaving school

Hundreds of teenagers in Devon are likely to be missing out on education or training after leaving school, despite a national government guarantee.

This is due to government funding running out for apprenticeships, further education chiefs have claimed.

Since 2014, local authorities have been required to find an education or training place for all 16 and 17-year-olds after they finish their GCSEs. This can include studying A-levels, starting an apprenticeship or work combined with training.

Department for Education figures show that in 2018, Devon County Council (DCC) gave 94.8 per cent of its 14,540 school leavers suitable offers of education or training.

That leaves 756 teenagers who could be missing out.

Of those, for 233 the offer was not considered appropriate, usually due to personal circumstances, and 145 received no offer.

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A further 378 teenagers did not have their situation recorded, possibly because they were not contacted by the local authority, or they moved address.

DCC says it works with Careers South West to find 16 and 17-yeasr-olds suitable placements. The authority claims more young people receive offers in Devon and the regional or national average.

A spokesman for the authority said: “In Devon, we consistently out-perform the percentage of young people who receive offers, both regionally and nationally.

“We encourage our school leavers to take up post-16 learning by routinely tracking the education status of 16 and 17 year olds and by providing them with guidance, support and signposting to an array of full-time and part-time programmes all aimed at helping them progress on to further learning.”

A slightly lower proportion of 16 and 17-year-olds were made offers by Devon County Council last year than in 2017, when 95.3 per cent received a suitable training or education place.

Devon handed out more places than councils across the South West on average, where 91.6 per cent of pupils received a suitable offer.

Across the region, almost 9,000 teenagers could have missed out on education or training in 2018.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “This year’s September guarantee data showed that almost 95 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds in England received a suitable offer in 2018.”

She added that a teenager who does not receive an offer will not always be missing education or training.