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Young People: Education

Volume 464: debated on Monday 15 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many (a) males and (b) females aged between 16 and 25 were not in education, employment or training in (i) 1997, (ii) 2001, (iii) 2005 and (iv) 2007. (156164)

The main official estimates for those not in education, employment or training (NEET) are for academic ages 161 to 18. This is the age group covered by the Department's Public Service Agreement (PSA) target on NEET, to

“reduce the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) by 2 percentage points by 2010 (from a baseline of 10 per cent at end 2004).”

The 16-18 NEET estimates can be accessed in a Statistical First Release (SFR) published by the Department, see web link:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000734/index.shtml.

The latest figures available are for 2006. The following figures are for individuals between the academic ages of 16 and 18 who were NEET in 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2006.

1 Academic age is the age of the individual measured at the beginning of the academic year, 31 August. Academic age 16 would be for those individuals in the year following compulsory education.

Males

16-18 NEET

16-18 population

Percentage of 16-18 NEET

1997

71,264

915,761

7.8

2001

92,137

950,433

9.7

2005

124,624

1,025,799

12.1

2006

117,376

1,030,999

11.4

Females

16-18 NEET

16-18 population

Percentage of 16-18 NEET

1997

83,048

890,568

9.3

2001

83,750

898,104

9.3

2005

92,439

968,640

9.5

2006

88,808

970,609

9.1

All

16-18 NEET

16-18 population

Percentage of 16-18 NEET

1997

154,312

1,806,328

8.5

2001

175,888

1,848,537

9.5

2005

217,063

1,994,139

10.9

2006

206,185

2,001,608

10.3

Although fluctuating, the percentage NEET has risen slightly overall between 1997 and 2004 with a rise to a peak in 2005. This was due to a combination of factors; numbers in education and training fell at the start of the decade, and numbers in employment have fallen since 2003.

More encouraging though, the latest (2006) NEET figures show that the proportion of young people who are NEET fell, especially among 16 and 17-year-olds. The last three years have seen a steady rise in participation rates, which shows that our education reforms are having an impact.

The number of 16 to 25-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training can be estimated using the Labour Force Survey (LFS), although it should be noted that these are not directly comparable to the SFR estimates. The following figures are for individuals between the academic age of 16 and 25 who were NEET in 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2006. They are estimates from quarter 4 (October-December) of the LFS, which historically has been the quarter providing figures closest to the SFR for 16 to 18-year-olds.

Males

16-25 MEET

16-25 population

Percentage of 16-25 NEET

1997

289,759

2,871,674

10.1

2001

303,472

2,912,698

13.0

2005

376,547

3,021,408

14.5

2006

366,939

3,069,094

13.9

Females

16-25 NEET

16-25 population

Percentage of 16-25 NEET

1997

472,275

2,909,797

16.2

2001

451,888

2,886,176

13.0

2005

509,343

3,072,401

14.5

2006

493,283

3,104,530

13.9

All

16-25 NEET

16-25 population

Percentage of 16-25 NEET

1997

762,034

5,781,471

13.2

2001

755,360

5,798,874

13.0

2005

885,890

6,093,809

14.5

2006

860,222

6,173,624

13.9