More than 11,000 teenagers in Alternative Provision at risk of falling out of education after their GCSEs will benefit from mentoring, pastoral support and careers guidance under plans to level up their opportunities after they leave school at 16.
Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford has today (4 Jun) announced a one-off funding package worth £7 million to boost the support offered to 11,300 Year 11 pupils making the transition from secondary school into post-16 education, work, or training, amid concerns that many may become unemployed after completing their GCSEs.
The money will help schools and colleges pay for tailored support such as transition coaches and mentors to provide one-to-one support for young people in making decisions about where to go after they finish their GCSEs, and helping them stay in education or training in post-16 settings.
Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said:
“All pupils deserve an excellent education that sets them up for life - and being excluded from school does not mean being excluded from education.
“As many young people stayed at home to stop the spread of coronavirus, they missed out on time with their teachers and peers. For those attending Alternative Provision, who may have relied on additional support to ease this important transition in their lives, this new funding will help get them back on track, re-engage them in their education and direct them on to the next chapter of their lives.”
Data shows that just over half (59%) of young people who attend Alternative Provision go on to a sustained post-16 destination, compared to 94% attending mainstream schools, and 23% of the cohort are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).
We asked schools to close to many young people to stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives, and the government is working hard to make sure those pupils who may have missed out on time with their teachers can catch up and move successfully on from their GCSEs into further education, an apprenticeship or training, or into employment.
Mark Vickers, Chief Executive of Olive Academies Multi-Academy Trust, said:
“I am delighted that additional funding has been secured for targeted transition and mentoring support for Year 11 pupils in alternative provision schools and academies. This announcement has been warmly welcomed by AP and SEND Multi Academy Trust leaders from across the country who can now access extra funding to deliver crucial transition support for pupils who are now at a greater risk of ending up not in employment, education or training. This funding will help ensure that our Year 11s are better equipped for the next stage of their learning journeys.”
Sarah Dove, President of the National Organisation of Pupil Referral Units and Alternative Provision, said:
“Coronavirus has accentuated the vulnerabilities of children in year 11 that are educated in PRUs and Alternative Provision. This transition fund will help support continuity of support and help allow PRUs and AP provide targeted support to help these children to further engage in education and employment opportunities.
“PRUs and AP have worked incredibly hard to develop and maintain positive relationships with children and young people during coronavirus, even whilst those children may not have been able to attend. This fund allows a continuation of these professional relationships to bear fruit in terms of ensuring successful outcomes for the students.“
APs can retrospectively claim up to £750 per sole-registered pupil to cover the actual costs of activities undertaken to help prevent that pupil from becoming NEET
The Department is taking forward an ambitious programme of action on school behaviour and is working to rapidly improve the availability of good AP, so that permanently excluded children and children at risk of exclusion receive a high quality education suited to their individual needs. We will provide further information in due course.