Delete a NEET. Repeat.
Writing here in early July 2016, amidst the complex national debate following the UK’s EU Referendum, the question of the education of our Children, and its impact on the NEET numbers in the UK today, appears to be a long way down the list of subject matters that politicians and voters alike seem to want to prioritise. Here at Phonics Stars™, it sits firmly at the top of our list, day in, day out.
Our Class Leaders work almost exclusively with Children who are under the age of five, and so will not sit their GCSEs for a decade at least. But our cause, which underpins all that we do, is “to help future GCSE Students achieve the qualifications and confidence they will need by providing an enjoyable and enriching start to their education.”
As you will read in our section called ‘Our Cause’ there are two main reasons for this, both related to the proven advantage in educational progress and outcomes if early years learning is successful. Whatever progress Children make, or fail to make, in their early education invariably sets the course for the rest of their education; with its clear implications for the rest of their lives.
Right now in the UK alone, we have 865,000 16 – 24 year olds who are officially NEET –‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (see UK parliament figures here). That figure represents 12% of that age group. It is also the equivalent of five years of current net migration from the EU (See Migration Watch figures here).
According to the CentreForum and Education DataLab, almost 43% of UK Primary School Pupils fail to reach national benchmark standards before they leave school. And the UK benchmark standards are already lower than the standards reached in the best-performing countries. The same research, from January 2016, shows that 44% of Pupils do not achieve the GCSE benchmark of five GCSEs A* – C Grade.
There is no direct link between these data sets and State of Education survey by The Key which found that 30% of Children entering Reception aged ‘rising five’ in the UK are not ‘school ready’. At Phonics Stars™, we believe that there is a correlation between the abilities of Children entering formal education, their academic outcomes in Primary School and at GCSE, and their ability to qualify for further education and employment between 16 and 24.
There appears to be a consensus across all shades of opinion that the UK generation currently aged around 16 to 24 years has been let down and become marginalised. Next time you see a Phonics Stars™ Class Leader dancing around, with lots of grinning Parents and Toddlers having a great time, remember what our Cause is, and that we are doing this to help to give these Children the best possible start in their education, in order the achieve the best results much later in life. We are doing all we can to reduce the number of NEETs in the UK in coming decades.