'Mending the Gap' by John Widdowson is published by the Campaign for Learning and NCFE. The author argues that the education and training needs of a significant proportion of young 16-18 year olds aren't being met. Young people should be at the heart of strategies for a high skilled economy, yet ‘remain neglected, under resourced and at the mercy of volatile policy change’. This is despite major reforms such as the introduction of the new T-Levels and the apprenticeship levy.

The paper proposes that the effective implementation of the raising of the participation age (RPA) is one of the most important responses that can be made to address this gap. The author's recommendations include that there should be a fundamental review of the RPA to the 18th birthday and research undertaken into the 'quality' of jobs undertaken by over 83,000 16-17 year olds who are in employment but not in full-time education. Other recommendations cover the 16-18 phase and supporting participation until 18.

The paper was launched at the Campaign for Learning on 30th January 2018 at a special event with speakers John Widdowson (author and principal, New College Durham), David Laws (executive chairman, Education Policy Institute), Denise Ellison (joint ceo, Just IT) and David Grailey (ceo, NCFE).

Download the paper

Further reading:

'Aims of raising the participation age 'remain unrealised': Article in TES 30th January 2018 https://www.tes.com/news/further-education/breaking-news/ambitions-behind-raising-participation-age-remain-unrealised

'16- to -18 phase needs funding too!': Article by John Widdowson in Schools Week published 5th February 2018 https://schoolsweek.co.uk/16-to-18-year-olds-need-funding-too/

'Enforcement measures proposed to keep kids in education until 18': Article in FE Week published 2nd February 2018 https://feweek.co.uk/2018/02/02/enforcement-measures-proposed-to-keep-kids-in-education-until-18/