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Securing Positive Destinations After Year 11

A programme of support for young people in Years 9, 10 and 11 providing careers information, and developing their resilience to overcome the barriers to succeeding at school and moving on to college or sixth form.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, Pastoral and Support Staff, School Teachers

Aimed at

KS4, KS5


Careers & Aspirations, Empowering Young People, Transition

Why was the project needed?

In 2016 disadvantaged pupils in Ipswich were less likely to be in a sustained destination than other pupils in Ipswich. Similarly, the percentage of disadvantaged pupils in a sustained destination for the first two terms after key stage 5 was also low compared to nationally. Statistics provided by Suffolk County Council stated that 5.4% of young people in Ipswich between the age of sixteen to eighteen were not in education, employment or training (NEET), compared to 2.7% of young people nationally.

What happened and what was the impact?

In 2018 Ipswich Opportunity Area commissioned Inspire Suffolk and Volunteering Matters to deliver two programmes to support young people in schools aged 13 to 15 (years 9 and 10) and 16 and 17 year olds who had been identified as being at risk of not having a destination post 16 or at risk of dropping out of their positive destination, and becoming NEET. The programmes would not duplicate support already on offer but complement and work in partnership.
The programmes aimed to enable young people to develop the tools they needed to:
• Make informed decisions on their post-16 options and later careers.
• To have the skills to adapt to changes and navigate the provision and career pathways.
• Build resilience.
• Overcome any barriers they had to sustaining their positive pathway.
The programme involved the following steps:
  1. Two programmes: the Achieve Programme for years 9-10 delivered by Inspire Suffolk and the Step-up with Mentoring Programme for years 12 and 13 delivered by Volunteering Matters.
  2. Inspire Suffolk and Volunteering Matters worked with secondary schools and post 16 provision, using data from Suffolk County Council identifying those students with key characteristics that meant they had a higher risk of becoming NEET, e.g. previously looked-after children, and those excluded from education. Working with schools to ‘sense check’ this list Inspire Suffolk and Volunteering Matters worked with these students across an academic year within school time.
  3. The year 9 and 10 programme reached 120 students – with an additional 109 students during an extended year. The Step up programme worked with 80 students in total.

What did and didn't work?

There are a raft of initiatives that seek to reduce the number of young people who do not make a successful transition to a positive destination post-16. Early intervention and prevention is cost effective in the long term but does need investment both by the school and the pupil and their families.

Having a range of approaches enables a need led system rather than a resource led approach.

Early identification and engagement by schools is imperative. Embedding and sustaining a programme to reduce the incidence of NEET benefits from the engagement and support of senior leaders.

How did you measure success?

  • An increase in attendance figures for students in the Achieve programme.
  • A decrease in late marks to lessons and school.
  • Reduction in issues around behaviour and requirement for isolation.


“I would like to say how pleased we are with the Achieve programme that Inspire Suffolk is delivering to our students…. All of the students involved always look forward to their sessions… and get so many benefits from them; particularly with their confidence and self-esteem”

Stoke High School, an Ormiston Academy
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