Hundreds of Wigan teenagers likely to miss out on education or training after leaving school
Hundreds of Wigan teenagers are likely to be missing out on education or training after leaving school, despite a government guarantee.
Further education leaders claim this is due to government funding running out for apprenticeships.
Since 2014, local authorities have been required to find an education or training place for all 16 and 17-year-olds after they finish their GCSEs which can include studying A-levels, starting an apprenticeship or work combined with training.
Department for Education figures show that in 2018, Wigan Council gave 94.1 per cent of its 6,880 school-leavers suitable offers of education or training, leaving 406 who could be missing out.
Of those, for 28 the offer was not considered appropriate, usually due to personal circumstances, and seven received no offer. A further 372 teens did not have their situation recorded, possibly because they were not contacted by the council or they moved home.
Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Mark Dawe said it was “scandalous” the Government cannot guarantee funding any more school-leaver apprenticeships.
“The DfE’s most senior civil servant told a Commons committee on Monday that the big issue is that the apprenticeship levy is running out of cash and that hard choices have to be made. But the easiest choice is to safeguard apprenticeships for the youngest, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
A slightly higher proportion of 16 and 17-year-olds were made offers by Wigan Council last year than in 2017, when 93.9 per cent received a suitable training or education place. Wigan handed out fewer places than the North West average, where 95.9 per cent of pupils received a suitable offer.
A DfE spokeswoman said: “This year’s September Guarantee data showed that almost 95 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds in England received a suitable offer in 2018.”
She said a teen who does not receive an offer will not always be missing education or training.