Research into the Phase 4 Locally-Led Delivery Projects for Raising the Participation Age

Maguire S, Newton B | Research Report 308 | Department for Education | Aug 2013

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The 2008 Education and Skills Act included legislation to raise the age at which young people are required to stay in education or training in England to 17 years from 2013 and to their 18th birthday from 2015.

To support the implementation of the legislation to raise the participation age (RPA), the Department for Education funded local authorities (LAs) to undertake trials and locally-led delivery projects (LLDPs) over four years, with the Phase 4 projects forming the last phase of work.

An evaluation of the Phase 4 LLDPs was commissioned to gather evidence on new activities and effective practice, as well as to assist LAs with planning and preparing for RPA.

Over the course of the evaluation, the interests of the Department became focused on some critical issues associated with operationalising RPA, which became a guiding framework for reporting the research findings. These issues were: strategic ownership and partnership delivery; data and tracking; early intervention; the needs of vulnerable groups; and the 17+ agenda.

The research was undertaken with specific regard to the changed economic, social, political, and LA context since the announcement of the RPA policy. It comprised an interim stage which included an online survey and telephone interviews with a sample of LAs involved in Phase 4 projects, and a final stage encompassing ten case studies and two master class workshops.

This report presents a summary of findings emerging from the evaluation of the previous trials and LLDPs to provide some context to the Phase 4 LLDPs.

It then turns to the challenges encountered, and solutions reached by LAs involved in the Phase 4 LLDPs. These LAs had been granted considerable flexibility in devising and implementing actions to provide intelligence on how challenges associated with the delivery of RPA could be overcome.