Government failing to act over long-term NEETs, warns Ofsted

9 September 2014

Reforms designed to cut the number of jobless school leavers are failing to prevent more than one million teenagers “falling through the cracks”, according to Ofsted.

The government’s attempts to stop young people claiming out of work benefits are “too narrow” because they focus on 16- to 18-year-olds without properly safeguarding long-term job opportunities.

In their new report, ofsted will warn that programmes designed reduce the number of “NEETs” – not in education, employment or training – merely end up “delaying their fall” into the category for two years.

Just 146,000 school leavers were classed as NEETs this year but, using separate figures from Inclusion, Ofsted said numbers soared to 1,184,000 when 19- to 24-year-olds were added to the figures. A further 40,000 teenagers are “lost” by local authorities each year with no understanding of their progress.

Ofsted says that the 19-24 group “is at risk of becoming the ‘new NEETs’”, adding: “Unless quick and decisive action is taken to improve the quality of further education then there is a very real risk that initiatives to help young people will, for many, just end up delaying their fall into the NEET category.”