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Participation in education and training: 16-18 year olds in England: Social Indicators page

Published Monday, November 27, 2017

Summary of trends in participation among 16-18 year olds in England since the mid-1980s and basic international comparisons. The latest update includes data from the end of 2013 which was the first to affected by raising the participation age.

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The proportion of 16-18 year olds in full-time education rose by 15 points to 72% between 1997 and 2016. The latest figure is the highest on the current series.

Between 1997 and 2016 the full-time education rate increased for each single age group, the rise was smaller for 18 year olds (10 points) than those for 16 year olds (17 points) or 17 year olds (19 points).

Changes to the collection of data on further and higher education means there is a series break in 1994.  Figures in the chart incorporate both points.  Data in the table use the revised method.

At the end of 2016 an estimated 13% of 16-18 year olds were not in any education or training – the lowest rate in this series.  The proportion who were also not in employment fell from  the recent high of 10.4% in 2008 to 9.2% in 2012 and 6.0% at the end of 2015.

Data from the end of 2013 was the first to be affected by raising the participation age. This effect is likely to increase in the future as it is extended to more young people.  


According to international data 63% of UK 18 year olds were in some form of education in 2012- below all other EU states apart from Malta and Cyprus.  The UK rate was lower due to a combination of lower school leaving age, lower post-compulsory participation and differences in how age is defined.

Commons Briefing papers SN02628

Author: Lydia Jackson

Topics: Further education, Schools, Training

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