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Oral Answers to Questions — Children, Schools and Families – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 30th June 2008.

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Photo of Adrian Bailey Adrian Bailey PPS (Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth, Minister of State), Ministry of Defence 2:30 pm, 30th June 2008

How many 16 and 17-year-olds in Sandwell are in education or work-based training.

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Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Children, Young People and Families; Minister for the North West), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Children and Youth Justice) (and Minister for the North West)

The most recent estimates of education and work-based learning at the local authority level relate to the end of 2006, when in Sandwell 80 per cent. of 16 and 17-year-olds were participating in education and in work-based learning.

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Photo of Adrian Bailey Adrian Bailey PPS (Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth, Minister of State), Ministry of Defence

I thank the Minister for her reply. In 2006, a relatively high number of young people not in education, employment or training—NEETs—were identified in Sandwell. Will the Minister tell us just what is being done to tackle that problem?

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Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Children, Young People and Families; Minister for the North West), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Children and Youth Justice) (and Minister for the North West)

In addition to the national figures, we also produce local estimates from Connexions data, and the latest data show that the proportion of young people who are NEETs in Sandwell fell from the 2006 figures that I mentioned to 12.3 per cent. in 2007. The fall is a result of the September guarantee and a raft of other measures. We are working on them with Sandwell and with a number of other local authorities to reduce the NEET figures, and the measures are showing results. The national figures for 2007, which we released this month, show the highest ever proportion of young people aged 16 to 18 participating in education or training and the lowest proportion of NEETs for some eight years. I expect Sandwell's 2007 confirmed results to reflect those very welcome trends.

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