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EDUCATION

Today’s Level 2 and 3 attainment statistics for young people aged 16-25 show that the number of 19-year-olds reaching Level 2 attainment (the equivalent of 5 good GCSEs) has fallen for the sixth consecutive year.

We continue to call on the Government to introduce a range of targeted support to help disadvantaged young people reach Level 2 qualifications, which provide vital workplace and life skills including numeracy, literacy, and digital skills. This can be achieved through the extension of existing Conservative policy – the Pupil Premium – into further education settings. The policy was initially introduced into the school system and for early years in 2011 to mitigate disadvantage. Pupil Premium funding stops at 16, even though barriers to learning for the most disadvantaged do not.

Campbell Robb, Nacro’s chief executive said: “If the Government is serious about levelling up, it must introduce specific, targeted support to help disadvantaged young people take their next step and fulfil their potential.

For the sixth year in a row, the number of young people achieving Level 2 attainment (the equivalent of five good GCSEs) by the age of 19 has fallen, with almost one in five not reaching this level. This leaves them at serious risk of being locked out of work, training and further education.

Today’s report also shows the situation for those on free school meals is even bleaker, with almost two in five not reaching this level by 19, meaning educational outcomes continue to be heavily dictated by a young person’s background. This is a national crisis, pure and simple.

The Government’s policy of funding free access to a range of Level 3 qualifications (A Level equivalent) is the right one. But the route map to getting there is wrong. Without putting in place the building blocks for people to gain Level 2 qualifications, many will be prevented from accessing these opportunities, further entrenching existing educational inequalities.”

REMAND

Today’s Safety in Custody statistics show the impact of prison on people held on remand.

Campbell Robb, Nacro’s chief executive, said: “Today’s statistics lay bare the truly shocking impact of prison on people held on remand. In the last year alone, the rate of self-harm for people on remand increased in both the male (4%) and female (20%) estates. The number of incidents of self-harm has reached its highest level since 2004.

Court delays continue to overwhelm the criminal justice system, with more than a third of the remand population held for longer than the legal limit of six months while awaiting trial. More than 1,000 people have been held for over a year, and nearly 500 who have been waiting for trial for more than two years. These continual delays cause unnecessary anguish to victims waiting for justice.

One in four people held on remand will not be sent to prison following trial, with one in ten being found not guilty, this is worse for women with two thirds of those on remand being found not guilty or given a community sentence.

The human impact can be severe. While on remand, people can lose their home, their job and even the custody of their children. The uncertainty created due to the lack of an end date to their time in custody also creates a state of limbo as people cannot properly plan for their release.

Remand must not become the default option. Instead, it should be used – when necessary – for people who are either a risk to the public or at risk of absconding.”