School leavers choose college over staying on at sixth form

More 16 year-olds chose further education over staying on at a school sixth form in 2009/10, according to new data published by the Department for Education.

The statistical first release, published earlier this week, is the first time the Department has revealed the percentage of students progressing to further learning in a school, FE or sixth form college, apprenticeship or HE institution.

The data shows that of 569,115 students, 37 per cent progressed onto FE provision, including general FE colleges – while 36 per cent studied at a school sixth form.

A further 12 per cent progressed to a sixth form college and 4 per cent enrolled as an apprenticeship.

The data also highlights the destination measures for learners in each local authority.

The Department said they hope the new data will encourage schools and colleges to support and prepare their students for further learning which offers “good long term prospects”.

Schools Minister Lord Hill said: “We are opening up access to this new data so people can see how different schools and colleges, and local authorities, perform.

“It gives parents greater information on which to base decisions.”

Six per cent of young people are not represented in the data either because they are in a job, on a gap year or not in employment, education or training (NEET).

The Department warned that the new data could still contain some errors.

“This is the first publication on ‘education destination measures’ and is classified as experimental statistics as the data are still being evaluated and remain subject to further testing in terms of their reliability and ability to meet customer needs,” the DfE website said.

The statistical first release also showed how many people went on to further learning after taking an A-level equivalent qualification.

It said 64 per cent of young people had studied for at least two terms the following year, with 8 per cent learning at an FE college, 1 per cent at a sixth form college and 3 per cent at an independent FE provider.

More than half were studying at a higher education institution. Lord Hill added: “It is interesting to see how well some local authorities in more deprived areas, and some schools and colleges in those authorities, do in terms of students going to our best universities, compared to those in other parts of the country.”