Thank you for contacting me about the Children’s Society research, Crumbling Futures.
I hope I can assure you that every effort is being made to support vulnerable children and young people through their education and late teenage years. These years can be particularly volatile for many teenagers, and it is incredibly important for local services to provide continuity of care from the transition from childhood to adulthood.
The Government has announced a programme of work to improve our understanding of the educational experiences and outcomes of all children with additional needs, and those who live in challenging circumstances. The Department for Education has been and is continuing to engage with relevant Departments such as the Department of Health and Social Care.
I would like to echo the Education Secretary in saying that we must make sure that every child, whatever their background, should have access to a world-class education which prepares them for life in the modern world. I am pleased that 91% of children attend either Ofsted rated 'good' or 'outstanding' schools in Chichester.
You may be pleased to know that a £4 million grant-funding programme has been launched to support and develop projects that seek to deliver better outcomes for children in alternative provision (AP), and provide an opportunity to share effective practice across the sector.
This investment will also encourage parents to have greater involvement in their children’s education and support children moving from alternative provision into post-16 education or training, so they reach adulthood, ready to take the opportunities in front of them and succeed in later life.
Chichester College has seen more than 25,000 apprentices pass through its doors, and its success continues with increased participation year on year. Some 94% of level 2 apprentices continue into employment or further education. The college has put employability at the heart of its curriculum, and it is working with around 5,000 businesses to do that. At the University of Chichester, 34% of its largely regional intake are from the lowest household income groups, and more than half are the first generation in their family to participate in higher education. The university has increased its numbers and is reaching out to the latent local marketplace.
It is important to remember that even if all those opportunities pass someone by, it is never too late for them to learn and improve their opportunities in life. There are such programmes as “Get into”, which is run by the Prince’s Trust; the “Choose Work” programme that Chichester District Council runs, which is designed to help young people get work experience; and the brilliant work of Business in the Community, which works to give young people CV and interview training and work experience.
The solution to better outcomes for young people is multi-faceted, but we should tap into talent wherever it is to satisfy growing demand and bolster our economy.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.