Engaging the Disengaged

Tami McCrone, Clare Southcot , Kelly Kettlewell, Eleanor Stevens

07 December 2012

This research project aims to build on the recent series of reviews undertaken through the From Education to Employment research programme by examining the impact of interventions that are in place to support students aged 14-16 who are at risk of temporary disconnection from learning. The research is based on six case-study schools with different support programmes for Year 10 students. Schools were visited in the summer term of 2012. Interviews were undertaken with staff involved in the programme and focus groups were held with students. This is the first report in a longitudinal project that will track students through to post-compulsory destinations.

This research forms part of NFER’s From Education to Employment research programme which aims to examine approaches that could help the over one million young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) carve a route to meaningful and sustainable employment.

Key Findings

  • The majority of the programmes integrated two or more approaches to preventing disengagement, such as employer involvement, mentoring, alternative curricula and careers guidance. All programmes had an element of personalised careers information, advice and guidance.
  • Programmes were targeting those students showing characteristics associated with being at risk of temporary disconnection from learning.
  • Effective elements of programmes were perceived to be: enhanced relationships between learners and staff; one-to-one support; practical hands-on application; flexibility of the programme in meeting students’ needs; and small class sizes with high adult-to-student ratios.
  • Students were showing signs of benefiting from the programmes in their first year of support.