Last year Wrecsam Council established three Corporate Priorities and one of them was reduce the number of NEETS or those young people who are not in education, employment and training. Concern had been raised about the high number of young people leaving education and not moving onto further or higher education, vocational training or employment. There were 145 or 9.6% of the Year 11 Cohort that were classed as NEETS in 2008 and Wrecsam Council's ranking was 18 out of 22 with a higher than Wales average.
Careers Wales have recently published their School Leavers Destination data for 2009, which shows a massive improvement in Wrecsam Council's performance and shows that the number of Year 11 Young People identified as being NEETS in 2009 has fallen to 72 or 5% of the Year 11 cohort with Wrecsam now ranking at 11 out of 22, and performing better than the Wales average.
What is surprising here is the destination of those Year 11 pupils who in 2008 were NEETS. The proportion of Year 11 pupils staying in full time education has only increased by 2% in Wrecsam whilt in Merthyr it has increased by 7.5%. This would indicate that many Year 11 pupils in 2009, have left and gone into employment. Although Wrecsam have increased the number staying in FT education by 2%, most authorities in Wales have improved by MORE than 2%, with the Welsh average being up 3%. Wrecsam is ranked as 22 out of 22 in the numbers of Year 11 staying on in FT education with 76.4%, with the best authority, Monmouthshire having 87.3% of their pupils staying on in FT education, with the Wales average being 82.2%.
We must of course exercise caution with this one off annual data and seek to maintain the improvement and ensure it is not a blip.
(Grateful thanks to Jan Jones, Performance and Development Manager with Wrecsam Council's Children and Young People's Department, for the number crunching)