Peter Rudd, Sarah Golden, Lisa O'Donnell, Julie Nelson
10 August 2004
The Increased Flexibility for 14-16 year olds Programme (IFP) was introduced in 2002 by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in order to ‘create enhanced vocational and work-related learning opportunities for 14-16 year olds who can benefit most’. Partnerships between a Lead Partner, which was usually a college of Further Education, partner schools and sometimes other providers such as training providers and employers, were formed in 2002 to achieve this aim. A first cohort of Year 10 students embarked on two-year vocational courses including NVQs, other VQs and new GCSEs in vocational subjects in the autumn term of 2002. The IFP was subsequently expanded to a second cohort of Year 10 students in autumn 2003. Across these two cohorts, around 300 partnerships are supporting the learning of 90,000 young people in Years 10 and 11.
The partnerships aimed to raise the attainment of students who participated. They also aimed to increase students’ skills and knowledge, develop their social learning and increase retention in education and training after 16. They are working towards a set of targets relating to achievement of qualifications, post-16 progression and attendance. The DfES commissioned NFER to undertake an evaluation of the first and second cohorts of IFP students. This summary presents the main findings from interviews conducted during follow-up visits to nine partnerships. Further details about the interviews are provided at the end of the summary.