Secondary schools fail to get teenagers into work – despite booming jobs market

The Telegraph is reporting new research that suggests young school leavers are disproportionately more likely to be unemployed even in areas which are seeing a jobs boom.

The study from the pro-free school New Schools Network found that, in areas with failing secondary schools, young people aged between 16 and 18 were more likely to be unemployed than adults of all ages…

In a study of the 20 local authorities with the worst performing schools, between 6.6 per cent and 9 per cent of the teenagers were not in education, employment or training. 

This compared to a national average of 4.7 per cent, according to the New Schools Network, an independent charity that provides advice and resources for those interested in starting a free school. 

In most of the council areas, the unemployment rate had fallen in the five years since 2010.

Nick Timothy, the director of the network which is part-funded by Government grants, …said the figures made the case for more free schools to be set up to challenge those which are below standards. 

He added: “We urgently need more good new schools – not just where there is a shortage of places but where standards have been too low for too long.”

More at: Secondary schools fail to get teenagers into work – despite booming jobs market


It’s not clear to me exactly what the figures quoted in the article refer to – for example, is the 4.7% national average the unemployment rate of school leavers or people of all ages? And if the former, what is the later?

I can’t find the original research online – if anyone has a link please let us know.

However, the bigger point being that seems to be getting made by the New Schools Network is that school leaver unemployment is high in areas with high numbers of failing schools, and therefore more free schools are needed to sort things out.

Is there some merit to this analysis or do you see things differently?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Employment, Free Schools and Local authorities.


  1. This is typical of NSN.  It publishes ‘research’ which isn’t available on its website.  This means it can’t be read, analysed or challenged.  In August they published ‘research’ about pupils allegedly being ‘forced’ to attend ‘failing’ schools.  ‘Failing’ in this context included schools judged Requires Improvement which isn’t exactly failing.
    Again, the research wasn’t available on NSN’s site.  However, reference to it has now appeared – the site links to the newspaper article reporting the research!

  2. @TW Except that taxpayers’ money both funds the production of this ‘data’.  Worse, the NSN ‘research’ can be used to justify setting up schools in areas where there are already surplus places because (allegedly) the area needs more ‘good’ schools.  Apart from the fact that a new free school is expensive to set up, there is no guarantee that it will be ‘good’.  
    The National Audit Office found informal interventions such as local support were more effective in improving school than formal interventions such as academy conversion (and by extension, new free schools).  But still the Gov’t insist that academy conversion and establishing free schools are good policies.

  3. VictoriaJaquiss

    SchoolsImprove And is that the role of schools- to prepare children to work, or is it to be themselves, work and all?

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove It has been shown on numerous occasions that school type is irrelevant. Starburst still taste like Opal Fruits. Hogwash idea

  5. birch_david

    SchoolsImprove This seems to be an attempt to justify the creation of free schools in areas where there is already sufficient capacity

  6. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove Why is the solution to this ‘more free schools’? It makes no logical sense. Surely support services at 16-19 are the key?

  7. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove There is a gap in support for students leaving school at 16 and post-16 emp/edu. Weird to suggest free schools the answer.

  8. Davis77Alex

    SchoolsImprove or teenagers also fail in the jobs market after failing their school. Even at 16, still no accountability?

Let us know what you think...