Education: Key statistics

England is the only country in the developed world where the generation approaching retirement is more literate and numerate than the youngest adults.

Social issues

  • Department of Education data (January 2015) shows that the number of schools failing to reach the Government’s minimum pass rate for GCSEs has more than doubled 330. Additonally, only 33.5% of poor children achieving the GCSE benchmark of five subjects including English and maths at grade C or above, compared with 60.5% of other pupils. January 2015

  • 3.5 million (27%) of young people live in poverty, with 1.6 million living in workless households, and only one in eight children from low income homes go on to achieve a high income as an adult (Social Mobility Commission State of the Nation 2013).

  • Only 7% of young people are privately educated, yet this proportion rises to 54% amongst FTSE 100 CEOs.

  • Nearly one million young people in the UK are NEET (not in education, employment or training). Young people who are NEET for a significant length of time are five times more likely to have a criminal record and thee times more likely to have depression.

Why this matters to UK PLC:

  • Over half of employers (53.5%) are facing difficulties filling vacancies. CBI Pearson Skills Survey 2014.

  • Training is not aligned to the labour market: last year 94,000 people were trained in beauty and hair for just 18,000 jobs, while only 123,000 were trained in the construction and engineering sectors for an advertised 275,000 jobs (IPPR Remember the Young Ones 2014)

  • Business intervention is hugely effective.  Research shows that young people who undertake four or more employer engagement activities are five times less likely to be NEET (It's Who You Meet: Why Employer Contacts at School Make a Difference to the Employment Prospects of Young Adults February 2012).

  • 48% of firms are putting on basic literacy, numeracy and technical skills training for their employees.