Post-16 education failing to deliver results, charity warns

‘Second chance’ post-16 education is failing to deliver results, particularly for disadvantaged young people, according to charity Impetus PEF.

Research conducted by the charity has found that 45,000 disadvantaged young people are failing to achieve five good GCSEs including English and maths, with only 46 per cent achieving English and maths qualifications by the age of 19.

Better off peers were found to be nearly twice as likely to achieve five good GCSEs by the age of 16, with 71 per cent achieving the benchmark of five good GCSEs by the time they reached 19.

Additionally, of those that did achieve qualifications at GCSE or equivalent, only 36 per cent of disadvantaged young people moved on to achieve a Level 3 (such as A-level) qualification by 19, compared to 60 per cent of their better off peers.

In response to these findings, Impetus PEF claims that improving post-16 provision is vital to provide a ‘level playing field’ for all young people to succeed and has launched a year long campaign to explore education and training provision for 16-19 year olds, with a specific focus on improving outcomes for disadvantaged young people.

Andy Ratcliffe, chief executive of Impetus-PEF, said: “Every young person should be supported to get good GCSEs in maths and English at school. If they don’t get the grades at 16, they need a second chance to catch up by 19. Sadly, most don’t catch-up. And without those qualifications life after school is much tougher, with fewer options for jobs and education. Today’s research gives a clear picture of the challenges faced by disadvantaged young people, aged 16-19, as they make the transition to life after school. It shows that government and the sector must come together to provide a ‘second chance’ education that delivers results."

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