Raising the participation age (RPA)
We must comply with the law which requires all young people in England to continue in education or training until at least their 18th birthday. We have broad duties to encourage, enable and assist young people to participate in education or training. Specifically these are to -
- secure sufficient suitable education and training provision for all young people in our area who are over compulsory school age but under 19 or aged 19 to 25 and an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is maintained. This is a duty under the Education Act 1996. To fulfill this, we need to have a strategic overview of the provision available in our area and to identify and resolve gaps in provision
- provide support that encourages, enables or assists all young people aged 13-19 and between 19 and 25 for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to participate in education or training under section 68 of the Education and Skills Act (ESA) 2008
Tracking young people’s participation is a key element of our duties. We are required to collect information about young people so that those who are not participating, or are not in education, employment or training (NEET), can be identified and given support to re engage.
In addition, ESA 2008 placed two RPA related duties on local authorities with regard to 16 and 17 year olds. We must -
- promote the effective participation in education and training of 16 and 17 year olds in our area to make sure that they fulfill the duty to participate in education or training. A key element of this is identifying the young people in our area who are covered by the duty to participate and encouraging them to find a suitable education or training place
- make arrangements such as maintain a tracking system, to identify 16 and 17 year olds who are not participating in education or training. Putting in place robust arrangements to identify young people who are not engaged in education or training or who have left provision enables us to offer support as soon as possible
Participation strategic plan
We have written a participation strategic plan setting out how we are going to meet the RPA responsibilities described above. Our plan contains details of our priorities for supporting young people aged 13 to 19 and those aged 19 to 25 with a learning difficulty assessment or an education, health and care plan into employment, education and training.