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Further Education Provision for 16-18 Year Old NEET Young People: Policies and practices within the Coalition Government’s education reforms

McHugh, Marilyn (2017) Further Education Provision for 16-18 Year Old NEET Young People: Policies and practices within the Coalition Government’s education reforms. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

The annual rate for 16-18 year olds categorised as not in education, employment or training (NEET) in England fluctuated at 7-10% annually from 2000-2014 (DfE, 2017). Whilst Governments have maintained policy commitments to implementing NEET reduction strategies, in practice, there has been slow progress in reducing this rate. Further Education (FE) colleges are the major providers of NEET provision in England, but future viability of this provision is uncertain, given the increased marketisation and education for the economy agenda of recent governments, in particular, the Coalition Government. There is a dearth of research about the effectiveness of a series of Coalition Government NEET initiatives. This study, therefore, makes an original contribution to knowledge by investigating the Coalition’s policy reforms, and their impact and legacy for the FE sector. It examines the implications of these for various groups of stakeholders: FE providers, learners, organisations such as FE colleges and wider policy initiatives. The research provides crucial perspectives to address gaps in knowledge at the cutting edge of policy change.

This study, based on mixed-method research, involved interviews to gain insights from FE managers and policymakers, and focus group discussions with FE learners. The research makes an original contribution to knowledge through its findings which reveal tensions concerning the targeting of Government resources for NEET provision and the challenges many new initiatives present. Disconnection was evident in the emergence of an ‘industry’ of changing NEET initiatives based more on ideological preferences or Government assumptions than evidence-based policy. The rationale for policymaking was not always clear and local infrastructure change, combined with resources diverted to the private and third sector, questioned the viability of the FE provision. A key recommendation of the study is to extend the involvement of providers and learners in NEET policy development through shared knowledge. The findings of the study have significance for improvements to FE practice and policy, which may lead to reductions in the 16-18 NEET rate in England.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Education
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2019 14:20
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 14:20
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/5132

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