Starting Well - Education



A person identified as Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) is either unemployed or economically inactive, but not because of being a student, an apprentice or a carer at home.

Commitment to learning and educational attainment are vital if a young person is to make a success of their life. Not being education, employment or training between the ages of 16 and 18 is an important determinant of unemployment, low income, teenage motherhood, depression and poor health. Young people who are NEET are less likely to achieve, economically or socially, to the levels that they are capable.

Research by York University in 2010 suggested that one in six young people who are NEET will never be in long-term employment. With this comes additional costs to the public finance, which equates to an additional cost of£56,301 per NEET or £12 billion in total for everyone who are NEET. The total loss to society, in terms of both finances and resources could be as high as £76 billion.

Young people who are (NEET) are at greater risk of a range of negative outcomes. To combat this and encourage more young people to study and gain the skills and qualifications necessary to move into secure, long term employment, the Education and Skills Act 2008 introduced Raising of the Participation Age (RPA).  From September 2013, young people were required to participate in education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17 and from 2015 until their 18th birthday.

RPA does not require that young people remain in school, but gives the opportunity to participate in a wide range of education opportunities including, college courses and school sixth forms, as well as apprenticeships and work based training.

Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET)

Young people, 16-18 year olds, who are not engaged with either an education or training provider, or currently employed, are deemed to be Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). This puts them at a greater risk of poor health, depression early parenthood, and other negative outcomes.

 In Hartlepool the proportion of young people who are NEET is declining, and doing so at a faster rate than both the England and north east regional average.

NEET - graph 1
NEET - graph 2



Up to 2015 what is considered to be the historical method of calculation was used to look at the NEET performance. Using this method Hartlepool saw an initial increase from 7.4% in 2011 to 7.8% in 2013, before the rate declined to 4.6% in 2015. This is a reduction of nearly 40% across this 5 year period. Hartlepool’s reduction of 38% is larger than England’s 32% and the north east reduction of 36%.

In 2016 a change to the methodology in calculating the rate of NEETs has resulted in an increase in Hartlepool’s NEET level. In the 2016 data, the first under the new methodology, Hartlepool’s NEET rate increased from 4.6% to 4.8%, at the same time the north east average fell from 5.7% to 5.4%, and the England average increased from 4.2% to 6%. Hartlepool’s rate is, for the first time statistically better than the England average, but now sits statistically similar to the north east average, following two years of statistical superiority under the previous calculation methodology. The biggest change for Hartlepool is where it sits within the region across the two methodologies.

NEET - graph 3


NEET - graph 4


In the final year of the historical method Hartlepool had the 2nd lowest rate in the north east but in the first year of the current method Hartlepool has now only the 6th lowest rate in the region.


Current services

One Stop Shop NEET reduction

Family support worker’s aim to support Young people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) who are at risk of not achieving their potential, economically or socially.

In accordance to Education and Skills Act 2008 Family Support Worker have a statutory duty to offer support to all young people 16- 18 are primarily focussing on NEET & Not known, however, support and guidance is also offered to all young people to continue in Education, Employment or Training until their 20th birthday, or up to age 25 for those young people with an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) or Learning Difficulty Assessment (LDA).

Family support workers hold a caseload of young people who are NEET and offer extensive support in order to re-engage back in to Education, Employment and training. Family support workers use a range of methods to engage young people that include, home visits, parent/carer engagement, incentives, supported EET visits to establishments as well as a wider range of additional support based on their needs.       

Family support workers have overall responsibility for Risk of NEET for the Year 11 cohort identified by schools, this includes support before leaving school which will continue until a possible destination is secured.  Risk of NEET is also identified by colleges and training providers at an early stage in order for reengagement support to be implemented by FSWs. Family support workers have a linked training provider whom they contact weekly to check young people’s progression. We also have a dedicated Family support worker that works with our Looked after cohort.

We acknowledge the summer holiday period for year 11 leavers is a risk factor of disengagement. Therefore work has been carried out with training providers to offer a “bridging programme” for young people who require additional support, remain focussed on learning and gain confidence for a successful transition into Education, Employment or training come September.

In terms of identifying risk of NEET factors, FSWs and Youth worker’s collectively offer a range of awareness sessions in order to reduce NEET and support young people to overcome boundaries that may prevent learning. These include:

  • Drug and alcohol awareness sessions run weekly and include a range of interactive activities delivered by professionals.
  • Smart Talk is a new weekly mutual aid support for people aged 16-20.The key focus of SMART Recovery groups is self-empowerment. Meetings and other support resources provide information on addictive behaviours, whether that be substance related or behaviours such as self-harm, gaming, social media, sex, porn etc.
  • We have launched a drop in service for the parents/carers of targeted year 11’s, which will take place every Wednesday at our One Stop Shop. Parents/carers are invited to drop in, and get advice and support from family support workers on a range of areas, including Education, Employment and Training, housing, finance and benefits, relationships and positive activities. With the goal of enabling parents/carers to support their child to make a successful transition between school and their next step.
  • We have launched a drop in service for young parents or parents to access support in order to ensure that young people have access to Education, Employment and Training support despite ant barriers they are faced with. Family support workers are available to give advice around Education, Employment and Training, benefits, housing and more, all in a child friendly environment with toys and games to help keep your child entertained and offer stimulation whilst support is offered to parents to explore their next step.
  • One stop shop currently offer support and discuss topics in relation to sexual health support and healthy relationships. Staff work in partnership with Virgin care promoting safe sex. Staff are also trained to distribute C card and STI testing. Staff also refer and support young people to receive appropriate support to health care services.
  • We have launched a monthly, sector-specific careers events for year 11’s and NEETs in order to give all young people in Hartlepool the most widespread and well-rounded information available to help them make their career choice. We feel that by covering as many sectors as possible we will be able to provide extensive and impartial careers advice that supports young people to make informed choices. This is with the overall goal of ensuring young people progress to where they want to be, therefore reducing the number of drop-outs that become our NEET cohort.
  • We have become more visible in local secondary schools by attending careers fairs, parents evenings, mock interview sessions and more in order to make young people aware that we are a service that will support in any way we can. We need to make sure that as many young people as possible know who and where we are so they can come to us should the need arise. By being present at these events we feel we are promoting ourselves to our target demographic. One Stop Shop manager chairs the town wide Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance meeting that has representatives from all secondary schools and colleges across the town.

Other methods of support offered

Daily promotion via our Facebook page that promotes group work and Education, Employment and training opportunities. Social events are also promoted on this page.

Professional joint working with Youth Justice Service, Social care, SEND teams and external agencies have a positive impact on reducing NEET and Not known cohort.


Future intentions

  • Hartlepool has a targets 0% for NEET/Not Known target, this is what we work towards each year.  
  • In the future each NEET young person should have a completed progression plan that outlines an individual pathway for their journey in to EET. This will be implemented where possible.   
  • Work will be done with training providers / colleges to bolster the post 16 landscape (that’s has shrunk considerable over the previous years), to create further opportunities for young people
  • Sector specific events will be piloted (12 in total) across the year to look at pathways in to all forms of education, employment and training – these start October
  • One yearly large scale event (October) will be held for parents / careers  to attend to give insight in to what’s available for their young people   
  • Continued links with schools – supporting schools to achieve all 8 of the Gatsby benchmarks