THE NATIONAL EVALUATION OF THE CAREERS SCOTLAND INCLUSIVENESS PROJECTS
CHAPTER TWO BACKGROUND
2.1. The purpose of this chapter is to explain the context in which the Beattie Inclusiveness Projects took place. Firstly, we summarise the findings of the Beattie Report and highlight the implications of this for the National Evaluation. We then go on to summarise some of the key national targets towards which the Inclusiveness Projects are expected to contribute.
2.2. The Beattie Report set out a clear vision of what it sought to achieve in terms of support for vulnerable young people at a key transition stage in their lives. Remitted to consider service provision for clients with 'additional support needs', Beattie adopted an 'inclusive' approach recognising that there are many reasons why many young people make poor post-school transitions resulting in the loss of contact with the agencies that might support them upon leaving compulsory education.
Implementing Inclusiveness (the client)
There is a group of young people who leave school with few or no qualifications and do not enter education or training. Many of these young people will enter a cycle of short term, low paid, low skill jobs, and unemployment. It is difficult to obtain an exact figure for the numbers of young people who are not participating in education, training and employment as many "disappear" from the system. The Scottish Executive estimates that around 6000 - 8000 16 and 17 year olds may not be in any form of education, training or employment. The number may be almost double if 18 year olds are included.
2.3. The report recommended the establishment of a National Action Group (NAG) to take forward and monitor the recommendations in Beattie. It also recommended the establishment of local partnerships to implement proposals and work to improve inter-agency links and information-sharing systems. The Beattie Report set out at an early stage the key principles underpinning its approach.
Implementing Inclusiveness (underpinning principles)
The single, unifying principle at the core of all the Beattie Committee's proposals and recommendations is Inclusiveness. It is central to our vision that all young people on leaving school - whatever their circumstances - should have access to adequate and appropriate learning provision within a learning environment matching their needs, abilities and aspirations. The principle of Inclusiveness is essential for an effective transition from school to further education or training and for later transitions. It should encompass personal development as well as more formal skills and qualifications. Inclusiveness should also underpin the policies and practice of the agencies and institutions which offer guidance, education and training. The Committee believes that Inclusiveness is essential to help young people reach their full potential.
2.4. Accounts of the Beattie Report often focus on the role of the Key Worker. It is indeed a central, unifying component within the Report. The concept of a Key Worker, someone who will support the young person before, during and after the critical transition stage and ensure relevant support to meet the young person's needs, is seen as a means of addressing the issue of lack of joined-up service provision for young people.
Implementing Inclusiveness (Key Worker role)
The issue is how to ensure that young people and their parents/carers are able to get to the right person at the right time without being passed around a number of different agencies and individual professionals. In our view, this would be a major step towards creating an Inclusiveness approach.
2.5. Although central to the proposals contained within the Beattie Report, it in fact contained a great deal more of importance than the Key Worker role alone. The Report also highlighted the value of:
- improved inter-agency information sharing around the needs of young people
- assessment which takes a rounded view of client needs and contains the views of relevant carers
- guidance and support at each critical stage in the transition process
- an Individual Action Plan which sets out clear objectives for the client and the role of support agencies in meeting them, and which is 'owned' by the client
- staff training and development to raise awareness of the learning and support needs of excluded and vulnerable young people
- client tracking systems which go beyond the first 'positive' outcome achieved by a client and continue to monitor them in case they 'fall back'.
2.6. The approach set out in the Beattie Report demonstrated considerable foresight. A recent piece of work by Maggie Allen 2 highlighted the type of support needed to help vulnerable young people make the transition from a care environment. The report, although focusing exclusively upon care leavers, offers findings of a more general significance. The methodology involved a face-to-face, longitudinal survey of a cohort of care leavers and concluded that professional support for transition needed to offer continuity, befriending and a tailored and flexible approach.
Into the mainstream - professional support worked well when it:
- was built on long-term relationship with the client
- offered emotional support and counselling
- provided encouragement to the client to 'stick at' work, education or training
- included assistance with the transition to independent living e.g. housing issues or budgeting skills.
2.7. The Beattie Report set out a very clear description of where it wanted service provision to go and how it might get there. The establishment of a multi-agency approach, held together and made client-focused through the introduction of client Key Workers, was a central component of the proposals contained within the Report. It also set out a range of 'good practice' guidelines that it sought to test out through the multi-agency, Key Worker approach. It was important that the National Evaluation focused on these areas in order to assess the progress made in developing the systems described and the effectiveness of these once developed.
Policy Objectives And Targets
Opening the door to a better Scotland
2.8. The Scottish Executive published a report in 2000 3 setting out its commitment to tackling social exclusion. The report describes the Executive's programme of action to promote social inclusion in Scotland and the principles underlying that programme. The Scottish Executive and the Scottish Social Inclusion Network agreed a vision of social inclusion and the principles through which this might be achieved. A number of the objectives set out within the report are relevant to the Inclusiveness Projects including the need to:
- increase participation in the labour market
- reduce, if possible to zero, the number of children who leave school unqualified or ill equipped to cope with life
- widen participation in and demand for lifelong learning
- tackle specific barriers to participation including ill health, low self esteem, homelessness and drug misuse
- eliminate discrimination and inequality on the grounds of gender, race or disability
- support and encourage the contribution of business to the well being of communities.
Social Justice/Building a Better Scotland
2.9. Social Justice 4 took forward the work of the Social Inclusion Network and set out how progress was to be measured in meeting the objectives contained within the Social Justice report. Ten targets and twenty-nine milestones were identified to enable progress to be measured. Following the publication of the report, the Annual Scottish Social Justice Report is produced each year presenting a picture of the progress made towards the longer-term targets and shorter-term milestones. Each of the target areas has milestones identified to measure progress. The following are some of the targets and milestones relating to the Inclusiveness Project client groups.
- every young person leaves school with the maximum level of skills and qualifications possible
- every 19 year old is engaged in education, training or work.
- halving the proportion of 16-19 year olds who are not in education, training or employment
- all our young people leaving local authority care will have achieved at least English and Maths Standard Grade and have access to appropriate housing options
- reducing by a third the days lost every year through exclusion from school and truancy.
2.10. Key targets, including that regarding the proportion of 19 year olds in employment, education and training (NEET), have since been incorporated into Building A Better Scotland 5 which outlines the Scottish Executive's strategy to improve the lives of people in Scotland and how resources will be allocated in order to achieve the Executive's priorities. The target regarding the reduction of NEET outcomes for 16 to 19 year olds is rolled forward to 1996. In addition, Building a Better Scotland introduces another target which is to increase support to 16-19 year olds from low income families to stay on at school and/or FE college, thereby raising the participation and retention rates of this group by at least 5% by 2007-08.
Lifelong Learning Strategy
2.11. In February 2003 the Scottish Executive published its lifelong learning strategy for Scotland 6. The report identifies what it terms as five people-centred goals in terms of lifelong learning. These include:
- giving people the confidence, enterprise, knowledge, creativity and skills they needed to participate in economic, social and civic life
- raising learner's expectations and delivering a high quality learning experience
- seeking to ensure that people's knowledge and skills are recognised, used and developed to best effect in the workplace
- giving people the information, guidance and support they need to make effective learning decisions and transitions
- providing people with the chance to learn, irrespective of their background or current personal circumstances.
2.12. Arising out of these targets, a number of spending priorities are identified of relevance to the Inclusiveness approach. Support for literacy and numeracy, enterprise education in schools and the widening of access to learning and education are three examples. The policy document recognises the importance of raising the skills levels of those not in work, 35% of whom hold no qualifications. There is also a recognition that, for many of those with no or limited qualifications, the lack of motivation for learning is a barrier which must be addressed and that non-traditional approaches are required to achieve this.
The Lifelong Learning Report also focuses specifically on the transition processes for those leaving compulsory education. The analysis would be clearly recognisable to those involved in the Beattie Report.
Lifelong Learning Strategy (transitions)
Transitions are very significant in the lives of individual learners. A good experience, supported and grounded by good advice and, where appropriate, by good personal and financial support, breeds confidence and further success. Poor experiences can have the opposite effect. Problems can arise through systems failures, such as a lack of information or inarticulation between different kinds and levels of qualifications, and transactional failures where institutions fail to work well together.
2.13. One of the key actions emerging from the strategy which will have a bearing on the Inclusiveness Projects, and the roles of those organisations subsequently playing a role in terms of mainstreaming, concerns the sharing of information between agencies. The report sets out the Scottish Executive's commitment to pilot a Personal Lifelong Learning Plan with school leavers in 2004 to record their achievements and plan future learning. The Plan would not be based solely on academic qualifications, but could also help people record and plan on-the-job learning and experience with a view to acting as a CV. The Plan would link with current developments on Personal Learning Plans for all schoolchildren and also provide signposts to, for example, Learndirect Scotland and Careers Scotland, to help individuals identify what learning they need and where they can do it.
Smart Successful Scotland
2.14. Smart Successful Scotland set out the then Minister for Lifelong Learning's ambitions for the Enterprise Network. A Joint Performance Team with members from the Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise was set up in order to develop progress measures for Smart Successful Scotland. Proposed measures are set out in the consultation paper 'Measuring Scotland's Progress towards Smart Successful Scotland' 7. Priorities from Smart Successful Scotland include:
- Global connections
- Growing Business
- Learning and Skills.
2.15. The Learning and Skills theme is most directly related to the work of the Inclusiveness Projects. A key indicator of progress here is to reduce the proportion of 16-19 year olds not in education, training or employment with training. This continues to be the case in updated versions of Smart Successful Scotland and in Scottish Enterprise's current Operating Plan 8 as well as for Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Careers Scotland Objectives
2.16. Careers Scotland has an important role to play in supporting or delivering many of these objectives on behalf of Scottish Ministers. Careers Scotland operates in a policy environment shaped by the framework of Smart Successful Scotland and the Social Justice Strategy (Table 2.1).
Table 2.1: Careers Scotland targets relating to Inclusiveness
Careers Scotland should help, encourage and support disadvantaged young people actively to engage in learning and education
By the end of academic year 2004/5, increase the number of young people with additional support needs continuing in post-compulsory education or training
Careers Scotland should help provide young people with a realistic and mature approach to the world of work and engender a positive approach towards it
By the end of academic year 2004/5, 85% of school leavers will understand the world of work, their place in it, and have a positive approach towards it
Careers Scotland should focus on the need to stimulate and support a culture of lifelong learning
By 31 March 2004, increase the number of disadvantaged or disengaged adults (19+) actively engaged in learning and training by a minimum of 35,000
Careers Scotland should help to reduce the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training
By 31 March 2004, reduce the number of young people for whom being NEET (not in education, employment or training) is a negative experience by 25% (or 6,000 individuals)
Forthcoming Policy Developments
2.17. There are also a number of forthcoming policy developments of particular relevance to the Inclusiveness Projects and learning arising from the National Evaluation. Two of those of most pertinence include:
- the Review of Collaboration Between Schools and Further Education Colleges9; a consultation paper setting out the case for a joint Schools/Further Education Strategy and exploring the options for increasing the availability of college provision for school pupils thus offering a more vocational form of learning for those disengaged within school
- the Additional Support for Learning Act10 which is likely to come into force in Autumn 2005 bringing with it a range of measures of relevance including;
- a broader definition of children with 'additional support needs' which will include potential Inclusiveness clients
- a new Code of Practice within which schools will be expected to operate
- the replacement of the Record of Needs with a Co-ordinated Support Plan for those who need it which should incorporate arrangements for more effective post school, planning and preparation
- the requirement that other agencies work with the Local Education Authority to discharge its responsibilities under the Act.
2.18. There have been major political developments since the Beattie Report was published that have reinforced its vision for the support needed to enable vulnerable young people more effectively to negotiate a critical transition stage in their lives out of education or care and into training, education and/or employment. The Inclusiveness Projects that were initiated in response to the Beattie Report have, therefore, taken on even more significance in terms of the lessons that they might hold for the best way of providing support to young people and for the mainstreaming of an inclusiveness approach within Careers Scotland and other service providers.
2.19. A number of forthcoming policy developments provide a major opportunity for stakeholders involved in Inclusiveness to take forward and build upon the experience of the Careers Scotland Projects. The timing of these developments makes it important that the lessons arising from the National Evaluation are absorbed, disseminated and targeted at key audiences in order to maximise the value for money achieved through the Projects.