Developing Indicators for Early Identification of Young People at Risk of Temporary Disconnection from Learning: (LGA Research Report)

Caroline Filmer-Sankey, Tami McCrone

21 June 2012

Executive Summary

The Local Government Association (LGA) and the Children's Improvement Board (CIB) supported The NFER Research Programme by financing a scoping study for From Education to Employment to gather evidence to help practitioners to identify those young people at risk of temporary disconnection from learning. NFER researchers carried out short strategic telephone interviews in February and March 2012 with ten key members of staff in local authorities and schools, to explore their views on ways of identifying young people at risk of becoming disengaged from learning, in particular those at risk of becoming temporarily NEET.

Overall, a list of indicators/factors could be used for guidance to help staff to identify the 'causes' of potential disengagement, the 'effect' (i.e. types of disengagement, for example, dissatisfaction with options, qualifications or indecision about future pathways) and the solution (i.e. the appropriate intervention that could be used to re-engage the young person, for example, careers guidance, employer involvement, a suitable learning environment and qualifications or support programmes to enhance mental resilience or 'stickability', etc.).

This report has also been published as part of The NFER Research Programme, and can be accessed here.

Key Findings

  • some LAs are developing predominantly 'hard', measurable indicators or risk factors associated with young people who might be at risk of disconnection from learning. Additionally local circumstances appear to influence the weight of their relevance at LA or institutional level. The research also suggests that 'softer' indicators are relevant and should be considered (such as personal and family circumstances and young people’s attitudes and aspirations).
  • it is possible to distinguish between the characteristics of young people who are likely to become temporarily disconnected from learning in contrast to those who might become more sustained long-term NEETs. However, there is little evidence to suggest that different types of NEETs are identified in order to determine the type of intervention required to keep the young person engaged.
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