From education to employment

LSDA Research Manager Welcomes Successes but Cautions Against Complacency

The Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) has recently published a report that shows the positive impact that further education can have on those who leave school without qualifications.

The report saw researchers looking at the characteristics of young people who were frequent truants and performed badly in national tests, including GCSEs, at ages 11, 14 and 16. They then tracked these subjects through their late teenage years, paying close attention to the links between poor education achievements, gender, ethnic background, social deprivation, family circumstances and their school experience.

The research was founded upon three questions; what are the characteristics of the disengaged young people in secondary education; who among them participates in further learning and why; and what impact does such participation have on their labour market outcomes? The report goes on to pay particular attention to the demographic profile of the students involved, paying attention to the split in achievement and participation along both gender and ethnic lines.

Head of Research Calls for Cautious Optimism

The research manager for the LSDA, Darshan Sachdev, spoke of the findings saying: “These findings give some cause for optimism. They show that some underachievers can be motivated to get involved in education and find jobs. But the more seriously disengaged seem to be impervious to change, presenting a significant challenge for teachers and politicians.”

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The LSDA’s mission is to improve the quality of post-16 education and training in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They have an annual turnover of around £35 million, and work in conjunction with the work of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). As such, not only is the agency in an ideal position to determine the benefits of education, but it is also in the perfect place to assess the needs for the years ahead.

Mr. Sachdev spoke on this subject, saying: “The goal is to increase the number of low achievers from school re-entering education or training and acquiring vocational qualifications. But the problem lies not just with the education system ““ the effects of social deprivation and unstable family backgrounds need to be tackled as well.”

Jethro Marsh

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