This document provides background information on the management information used in the release ‘Participation in education, training and NEET age 16 to 17 by local authority’. It explains the purpose of the data and provides an overview of the data source and other relevant information.
Participation in education, training and NEET age 16 to 17 by local authority
Underlying data is also published alongside this release in a Zip file and an accompanying metadata document explaining what is covered is provided in the same file.
Purpose of data
The government publishes local authority participation data so that members of the public can make informed decisions about the performance of their own local authority.
The government provides the framework and funding to increase participation and reduce the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), however, responsibility and accountability for delivery lies with local authorities. Under Section 68 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 (ESA 2008) local authorities have a duty to encourage, enable or assist young people’s participation in education or training.
Statutory guidance that underpins this duty directs local authorities to collect information to identify young people who are not participating, or who are at risk of not doing so, and to target their resources on those who need them most. The information collected must be in the format specified in the CCIS Management Information Requirement.
Historically, local authority responsibilities for tracking extended from ages 15-19, and to 20-25 year olds with a statement of educational need and disability (SEND). However, from September 2016, the Department for Education (DfE) relaxed the requirement on authorities to track academic age 18-year-olds. Local authorities are now only required to track and submit information about young people up to the end of the academic year in which they have their 18th birthday i.e. academic age 16 and 17-year-olds. Young people with a current education, health and care (EHC) plan should still be tracked and reported on until their EHC plan ceases, which can occur at any point up to the end of the academic year in which they have their 25th birthday.
Some caution should be taken if using these figures due to the estimates being based on management information and there are considerable variations at local authority level in how well 16/17 year olds are tracked and hence not known proportions can impact on the estimates of the proportion NEET.
Source of data
Information about a young person's activity is recorded on each local authority client database, an extract from which is used for this underlying data.
Local authorities are required to provide:
- basic information about young people in their area (such as name and address)
- their needs and characteristics (gender, ethnic group, disability, care leaver)
- their post-16 transition plans (intended destination, September Guarantee offers)
- their current activity and when this was last confirmed.
The age of the learner is measured at the beginning of the academic year, 31 August.
The information provided must adhere to the definitions set out in the section below. There are also rules that govern the currency of the information held by local authorities. Young people whose activity has not been confirmed within a set time period are recorded as 'activity not known'.
Prior to April 2018, refugees, asylum seekers and young adult offenders were excluded from the denominator used to calculate the proportions of young people participating in education or training, meeting the duty to participate in education or training, whose activity is NEET or not known. Since April 2018, the NCCIS management information requirement stated that local authorities should record the activity of refugee/asylum seekers in the same way as the rest of the cohort. Therefore from April 2018 only young adult offenders in custody are removed from the denominator.
The number of 16 and 17-year-olds known to the local authority are recorded on its database. This includes young people educated in other authority areas, students living away during term time and young people previously resident in the authority area who are currently in custody. Young people who were not educated in the maintained sector will only be included if they are known to the local authority.
Further information and detailed definitions about the data that local authorities are required to collect can be found in the NCCIS Management Information Requirement.
Timings and collection
The Department for Education (DfE) have made publicly available local authority website tables on GOV.UK showing participation at age 16 and 17. In previous years this information has been made available for December, March and June quarters but following an internal review this was revised and from 2018 became an annual release for March only. Local authorities are able to access monthly data from the NCCIS portal.
Tables by local authority showing the proportion NEET (which includes those young people whose activity is not known) are also included. In previous years this has been a separate publication on GOV.UK. The data collected at the start of the academic year is less robust and more reflective of different local authority management information systems than the true picture. We therefore take an average estimate from Dec/Jan/Feb for the NEET figures to give an end of year estimate.
Breakdowns are included by individual age, gender, ethnic group, special educational need or disability (SEND) and special educational need (SEN) support
Unless otherwise stated overall education and training figures include young people in part time education, but not those in reengagement provision, gap years or those with an agreed education and training start date.
Type of activity
Full-time education and training – full time education and training means undergoing more than 16 hours of guided learning per week. This may be undertaken in a school, sixth form or FE or HE institution, special post-16 institution or a custodial institution.
Apprenticeship – full time employees who are undertaking an apprenticeship that has been commissioned and delivered through the National Apprenticeship Service.
Work based learning – government funded work based learning for 16-17 year olds EFA/SFA funded work based learning, Traineeships and Supported Internships.
Part time education – courses of less than 540 hours per year as set out in individual learning agreements. This includes planned learning hours and non-qualification hours which are called planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours (EEP hours).
Employment combined with study – full time employees in a job that provides training or is combined with part time education or training leading to a regulated qualification. The education or training must be the equivalent of at least 280 hours per year. This is the equivalent of around a day a week, but may be undertaken on a block release basis. Full time self-employment, holding a public office or voluntary work may be regarded in the same way as full time employment in these statistics.
Other training – full time training delivered by non-government funded organisations (for example, private colleges or training centres).
Current activity not known to the LA - young people whose current activity is not known in each authority area.
Meeting the duty to participate (as defined in the Education and Skills Act 2008)
The government's guidance on how young people can meet the duty to participate can be found here.
Full-time education or training - includes school sixth-form, sixth-form college, further education, higher education, other full time education or training, independent specialist provider, custodial institution (juvenile offender), EFA/SFA funded work based learning, other training, traineeship, supported internship or gap years (wider definition than full-time education and training defined above)
Of those not meeting the duty - the proportion of 16 and 17 year olds who are not meeting the duty to participate but who:
- are in part time education that is not combined with full time employment;
- are in employment with training that does not lead to a regulated qualification and which does not therefore meet the duty to participate;
- require a temporary break from learning such as new mothers or the very ill.
NEET or not known
Current activity as recorded on NCCIS is used to produce NEET and not known estimates.
Where a young person's current activity is recorded as any of the following then their activity at the end of the month is categorised as NEET:
- Working not for reward
- Not yet ready for work or learning
- Start date agreed (other)
- Start date agreed (RPA compliant)
- Seeking employment, education or training
- Not available to labour market/learning - carer, teenage parent, illness, pregnancy, religious grounds, unlikely ever to be economically active, other reason
Where a young person's current activity is recorded as any of the following then their activity at the end of the month is categorised as 'Not known' and they are included in the overall NEET/not known figures:
- Current situation not known
- Cannot be contacted - no current address
- Refused to disclose activity
These participation in education, training and not in education, employment or training (NEET statistics) were previously published on GOV.UK.
Due to the changes listed below and also internal data processing changes, a time series back to 2019 is included in this release.
- Until 2018 this information was made available for December, March and June quarters but following an internal review this was revised and from 2018 became an annual release for March only .
- The law changed so from 1 Sept 2014, all special educational needs (SEN) statements began being replaced with education, health and care plans (EHCPs). All statements of SEN were replaced with education, health and care plans by 1 April 2018. Changes were made to the way SEND data was recorded on NCCIS in 2018 in order to capture new EHCP and SEN support so prior data is not directly comparable.
- Caution should be taken when comparing historic figures due to a change in the methodology from 2016 where NEET and not known were reported as the headline statistic. Previously an adjustment was made to the NEET figure to try and estimate the proportion of not known activity that was likely to be a result of the young person being NEET (see notes that accompany each publication for further information on the methodological change).
- Also prior to 2016 local authorities were required to also track 18 year olds but this requirement was lifted and only those aged 16 and 17 are included in the 2016 and 2017 figures.
Context with other data
The Department for Education’s definitive measures for England of participation and not in education, employment or training (NEET) for 16 to 18 year olds are published annually in the national statistics release 'Participation in Education, Training and Employment age 16 to 18'. Estimates from these national statistics are used to monitor progress against the Department’s objectives of raising participation and reducing the number of young people NEET (not in education, employment or training). The estimates relate to a snapshot of activities at the end of the calendar year, and are based on academic age, defined as ‘age at the start of the academic year’. Information is drawn together from various post-16 data sources to give a coherent and comprehensive picture of participation, including schools, further education, work-based learning and higher education. The key analyses are by age, gender, type of learning, institution type, labour market status and highest qualification being studied. These figures are not published at regional or local authority level.
The Department also publish estimates from the Labour Force Survey of young people NEET in England in the national statistics release ‘NEET age 16 to 24’. These statistics should be used to see latest national trends in NEET rates for 16-24 year olds. Trends are assessed by comparing the latest quarter’s data with the same period in an earlier year to account for seasonal effects.
Users should also be aware of the ONS (Office for National Statistics) release: Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), UK - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk) Whilst they are based on the same quarterly LFS data, the NEET and NET figures in the DfE release differ from those in the ONS release due to coverage and methodological differences as shown in the table below.
CCIS is the primary source of data on participation and NEET at local authority level, and will help to assess RPA compliance more locally. It is used to produce local authority level statistics. These are shared with local authorities each month so that they can monitor their performance and benchmark against neighbours. Other published data includes:
- offers made under the September Guarantee
- annual NEET Scorecards, which bring together previously published data to provide a holistic view of local authority performance
The table below provides a summary of the four related releases.
|Title||Participation in education, training and employment||NEET statistics annual brief||Young people NEET||Local authority NEET and participation|
|Producer||Department for Education||Department for Education||Office for National Statistics||Department for Education|
|Status||National Statistic||National Statistic||National Statistic||Transparency data|
|Age type||Academic age||Academic age||Actual age||Academic age|
|Data type||Mostly administrative||Survey||Survey||Management information|
|Frequency of publication||Annually||Annually||Quarterly||Annually|
|When to use?||England NEET (and participation) figures, age 16-18||England/regional NEET figures, age 16-24 (includes reasons NEET)||UK NEET figures, age 16-24 (published quarterly so often most timely)||Local authority/regional NEET (and participation) figures, age 16-17 (includes pupil characteristics)|
 Academic age is defined as ‘age at the start of the academic year’ i.e. age as at 31 August. Actual age is defined as ‘respondents age at the time surveyed’.
 Left to right indicates recommended order of preference in which the statistics should be used based on most users’ needs and robustness of the data.
Limitations of the data
Only the young person's main activity is recorded.
There is a proportion of young people in each area who are missing from local authority databases or whose current activity is not known to their local authority. It is possible that some of those recorded as not known will be participating in education and training. The extent to which this is true will affect the extent to which the figures for those recorded in education and training underestimate actual participation in that local authority, therefore this data should not be compared to, or used as a proxy, for official DfE statistics which can be found here.
The Code of Practice for Official Statistics requires we take reasonable steps to ensure that our published or disseminated statistics protect confidentiality.
The following has been applied to the underlying data:
- Regional and national figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 in order to avoid secondary suppression within local authorities.
- Regional and national percentages have been rounded to one decimal place in order to avoid secondary suppression within local authorities.
- Suppression ‘c’ has been applied to any indicators where the cohort is less than 5 to avoid disclosure.
- All characteristic data for the Isles of Scilly and City of London has been suppressed due to risk of disclosure due to small cohorts.
Data quality issues
In 2022, Surrey implemented a new Education Management System which saw the integration of Surrey’s NCCIS returns with their wider education data. The migration process has resulted in a number of data quality issues, which have impacted Surrey’s performance. This includes the loss of UPNs during the migration process, conflicting address/contact details and duplicate records. Work is ongoing to address these issues. In the meantime please apply caution when using Surrey’s NEET/Not known figures.
Furthermore, for Surrey, software issues with the gender field in March 2023, have resulted in no male and female breakdowns for this month. Therefore only totals have been shown for Surrey in the participation by gender table. Caution should also be applied to Surrey's apprenticeship data as some records had been miscoded in the March 2023 returns.
Peterborough did not submit data for March 2020. Data for February 2020 has therefore been used for Peterborough's participation estimates in 2020.
Feedback and user engagement
Feedback on methodology and presentation is welcomed and encouraged.
If you have any comments on the information collected please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any questions on the format of our outputs or whether these statistics are meeting your requirements, please email: email@example.com.
Help and support
If you have a specific enquiry about Participation in education, training and NEET age 16 to 17 by local authority statistics and data:
Post 16 Participation, NEET and Attainment StatisticsEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact name: Anneka Albon
If you have a media enquiry:
Telephone: 020 7783 8300
If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:
Telephone: 037 0000 2288
Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays)