Agenda item

Post 16 provision, participation and NEET

Report of the Service Director - Legal and Business Operations, requesting that the Panel consider issues related to Post 16 education, skills and training in Southampton.


The Panel considered the report of the Service Director, Legal and Business Operations, which set out the provisional 2020/21 Key Stage exam results in Southampton.


The Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, Councillor P Baillie; and Southampton City Council Officers, Rob Henderson, the Executive Director Wellbeing (Children and Learning); and Clodagh Freeston, Service Manager, Education Strategy Planning, and Improvement; were present and, with the consent of the Chair, addressed the Panel.


In discussions with the officers, the Panel noted the following:

·  On pg. 27 of the report pack, it stated that 75% of students attending City College come from disadvantaged backgrounds, however the correct figure was in fact approx. 40%-50%.

·  Whilst some of the 6th Form provision in the City was outstanding the funding for 6th form provision means that small 6th forms in schools were not very economically viable and were therefore not always delivering the quality of 6th Form provision our children need.

·  Merging provision for post 16 education had been explored in the past and the Department for Education had carried out another review of provision in the area and were due to publish the review in 2022.  However, the situation was complex, and it had proved difficult to achieve the investment required for improvement.

·  The Council had engaged with the Department for Education and local further education providers as a strategic partner to influence the development of a road map that would provide a long-term sustainable solution for post 16 provision in the City. 

·  There was a capital programme for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) which included post 16 provision and focussed on increasing capacity in local schools and special provision within the city.

·  The pandemic had exacerbated the issue – but some cities, such as Bristol and Coventry had seen NEET rates fall in 2021.  The Panel questioned what had happened in these cities that had not happened in Southampton?

·  Analysis would be carried out to understand why measures implemented to improve engagement had been successful for young people in Year 12, but this had not filtered through to Year 13.

·  The number of young people whose destination was unknown was high and included young people who may have moved out of the City and cannot be contacted.

·  Three Engagement Workers had been employed to support young people who were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) to be ready to engage, to deliver targeted work to prevent young people becoming NEET and to help and to help track down young people whose destination was unknown.



1)  That analysis would be undertaken of Post 16 performance to identify the reasons behind the attainment gap, particularly the achievement of A*/A grades, between Southampton Further Education providers and national performance.

2)  That, research to learn from best practice in reducing NEET levels, would include liaison with Bristol City Council and Coventry City Council to identify how they had been able to reduce NEET levels during the pandemic.

3)  That analysis would be undertaken to improve our understanding of the reasons behind the rise in NEETs between Yr12 and Yr13 in Southampton.

4)  That the Panel would be provided with data which enabled comparisons to be made between the level of ‘unknowns’ in Southampton and other areas.



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