Press release

Teenagers NEET: numbers hit new low

Figures show 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) at lowest level since comparable records began in 2011.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

young person

The number of 16- to 18-year-olds NEET has fallen to its lowest level since comparable records began in 2011, figures reveal today (19 March 2015).

The figures show the proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds NEET has fallen by 0.6 percentage points to 4.7% in the last 12 months.

This is the lowest level since comparable records began in 2011, with a total drop of 1.4 percentage points - equivalent to 24,000 people - over this 4-year period.

There has been a continuing downward trend in young people NEET since the government raised the participation age so that young people in England must continue in education or training beyond 16.

Only last month, data was published showing the number of 16- to 24-year-olds NEET from October to December had reached its lowest level since 2007.

According to today’s figures, in 80% of local authorities the proportion of young people reported as NEET has fallen compared with last year.

The figures also show the number of 16- to 18-year-olds whose activity is ‘not known’ has also fallen, but the government will be contacting areas where the ‘not known’ are unacceptably high.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

Equipping young people with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed is absolutely central to this government’s long-term economic plan.

I am therefore delighted at today’s figures, which reinforce the recent evidence we saw of a return to NEET levels not seen since before the economic crisis, and show that our long-term economic plan is working.

There is more to do, however, and I would urge councils which don’t have information on large proportions of their teenage population to do more to identify them and help them fulfil their potential.

The government has carried out a number of important reforms which benefit young people post-16, including:

  • introducing a rigorous new curriculum and world-class qualifications focused on the subjects universities and employers value the most
  • ensuring young people who have not achieved at least a C in GCSE English or maths must continue studying those subjects up to the age of 18
  • removing low-quality vocational qualifications from league tables in favour of courses proven to deliver the skills employers demand
  • establishing a careers and enterprise company which will encourage greater collaboration between schools and employers to deliver information and inspiration on careers

Notes to editors

  1. Read full breakdown by local authority of 16- to 18-year-olds NEET.
  2. The government is spending £7.2 billion in 2014 to 2015 to fund a place in education or training for every 16- or 17-year-old who wants one.
  3. Last year the Deputy Prime Minister announced a £30 million package of funding designed to improve the prospects of up to 20,000 vulnerable young people, helping to prevent them becoming NEET.

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Published 19 March 2015