At the end of May, the Department for Educate announced that young people in Alternative Provision (AP) at risk of unemployment or dropping out of education at age 16 are set to receive further mentoring, pastoral support and careers guidance under Government plans to level up opportunity for all young people and build back better.
The money – up to £750 per pupil – will help AP settings pay for one-to-one support such as mentors or specialist transition coaches to help young people make decisions about their options after they finish school, helping guide them into further education, post-16 training routes or directly into employment.
Commenting on the news, James Madine, CEO of Progress Schools, said: “I am delighted with the further £8 million funding announced by the Department for Education. The additional funding will go a long way in helping ensure the most vulnerable children in society can progress onto the right pathway for them.
“Over the last 12-months, the pandemic has posed a serious threat to the life trajectories of young people, this funding will help ensure that the most vulnerable young people can be supported in taking the next steps, whether that be education, employment, or training. Through raising the aspirations of children who attend an Alternative Provision, we can support them in accessing the same opportunities as those young people who have been less impacted by the pandemic. As we move forward into a non-COVID world, it is our priority to ensure that no child is left behind and that each young person has access equal opportunities.
James added: “I believe the funding is a step in the right direction, but we must continue to do everything we can to support the young people accessing Alternative Provisions in securing positive outcomes.”
The funding means that more than 11,000 vulnerable young people will receive support to move into further education or employment.
Data shows that just over half (54%) of young people who finish Key Stage 4 in Alternative Provision go on to a sustained post-16 destination, compared to 94% attending mainstream schools, and 23% of the cohort are classed as ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET). Without making a successful transition to post-16 these more vulnerable pupils are at risk of being exploited into gang involvement, county-lines activity or serious violence.
Alternative Provision can offer a lifeline to these young people and their families, in providing tailored support from teachers and smaller classes to help them focus and fulfil their potential.