Kent 16 to 19 Review - Pathways For All

We constantly try to provide the best education outcomes for people living in Kent.

Currently, we have a particular focus on provision for 16 to 19 year olds and have recently led a comprehensive review of what is available for this age group and the issues that need to be addressed if the opportunities for our young people after Year 11 are to be improved.

Purpose of the review

The aim of the review is to improve the options and life chances of Kent’s young people by enhancing the education, skills and training opportunities available to them. To achieve this, it sought to develop a deeper and shared understanding of the issues facing both young people and providers.

The review was delivered in collaboration with providers from across the sector and with the involvement of young people, their parents, and key stakeholders.

The process was overseen, guided and supported by steering and working groups with representation from across the sector and from stakeholders and providers.

The evidence base

The fieldwork to assemble the evidence base for the review took place throughout the summer term 2021.

A comprehensive programme of qualitative research was delivered by a multi-professional team drawn from Kent County Council, The Education People and other colleagues, with the support of external experts from ACL Consulting. This research team accumulated a substantial evidence base for the review, principally from:

  • interviews with post-16 providers (83 staff across 47 organisations) and other post-16 stakeholders (15 interviews), 31 focus group discussions with young people in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13
  • analysis of a range of relevant quantitative data
  • online questionnaires for young people, parents, providers and other stakeholders.

A draft of the findings and proposed recommendations was produced over the course of the autumn term 2021. A consultation to gather feedback from the sector on the draft proposals took place during the latter part of the autumn term 2021.

The review report

The principal recommendations identify strategies to address the challenges faced. Subject to the agreement of the sector, a strategic board will be set up to drive forward the development of 16 to 19 provision in the county. We will also look to facilitate more local collaborations across the county to ensure that local offers meet the needs of all students at district level.

Next Steps: A major review and a major opportunity

As the scale and scope of this work makes clear, our review of 16 to 19 provision has been a huge undertaking.

There is a clear willingness in the sector to look afresh at post-16 provision and to collaborate to further enhance the offer, but the implementation of the necessary changes will require a strong collaborative approach. No organisation has the statutory powers or resources to produce the necessary changes on its own; it is only by working together that we will make progress. Collaboration, locally and cross-county, is therefore at the heart of our next steps - starting with principal recommendation 4.8, which focuses on strategic leadership and the establishment of a 16 to 19 Strategic Board.