How can we make sure every young person is able to participate and achieve in further education?

NCFE and Campaign for Learning's new pamphlet features a collection of articles penned by ten leading authorities from across the education sector, including the Education Policy Institute, Association of Colleges, Learning and Work Institute and the Resolution Foundation. The paper offers policies and measures to help the new Government level-up education and training opportunities for all 16-18 year olds in England - so none are left behind - wherever they live.

The Spring Budget in March and Spending Review in the summer will be pivotal moments to see if the government will prioritise funding for the education and training of 16-18 year olds compared to other phases of the English system. These will be against a background of reported 5% cuts in departmental spending and the apprenticeship budget facing overspend. The recent falls in the number of 16-18 year olds starting apprenticeships will also cause concern of a rise in the young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). 

The authors call for a range of financial measures including: a fundamental review of the level of funding for the 16-18 phase; the funding of apprenticeships through the 16-18 participation budget and not the Levy; and the reintroduction of Educational Maintenance Allowances for young people in full-time education.

The articles also recommend education policies to help young people progress to Level 3 by age 19; and support 16-18 year olds for whom achieving Level 2 represents a real success including the 60,000 young people currently studying on apprenticeship programmes.

No 16-18 Year Old Left Behind: Authors and articles

  • David Laws, Education Policy Institute: Helping Every 16-18 Year Old to Progress
  • Jan Atkinson and Nathan Nagaiah, Shooters Hill Sixth Form College: Transitioning to Level 3 Academic and Vocational Courses
  • Catherine Sezen, Association of Colleges: Transitioning to Level 3 T Levels
  • Kathleen Henehan, Resolution Foundation: Fewer Level 3 and Level 2 Apprenticeships for 16-18 Year Olds
  • Mark Dawe, Association of Employment and Learning Providers: Transitioning to Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeships
  • Susan Pember, HOLEX: Classroom Learning and Apprenticeships: A Twin Level 2 Offer for 16-18 Year Olds
  • John Widdowson, New College Durham: Entry and Level 1 Pathways for 16-18 Year Olds in FE Colleges
  • Kevin Gilmartin, Association of School and College Leaders:  A New Maths and English Policy for 16-18 Year Olds
  • Clare Howard, Natspec: Special Educational Needs Does Not End at 16
  • Joe Dromey, Learning and Work Institute: Counting the Costs: Fair Wages and Maintenance for 16-18 Year Olds
  • Mark Corney, Policy Consultant Levelling-Up More 16-18 Year Olds

Michael Lemin, policy and research manager at NCFE, commented:

The population of 16-18 year olds in England is due to rise by over 200,000 by 2024. With the duty placed on all young people to participate in education and training until their 18th birthday, the new Government faces a crucial challenge to ensure that no 16-18 year old is left behind.

The contributions in the pamphlet shine a light on this complex subject that has the potential to impact so many and we thank the authors for their expert opinions.

Julia Wright, national director at Campaign for Learning said:

We hope the pamphlet opens up a wider debate on whether the best way to help young people achieve in the 2020s is through more of the same – namely a further two years of full-time education. Education policies miss many of the 16-18 year olds who would benefit from them because they are not in the education system but in (or near) the labour market.