16+ Learning Choices: Policy and Practice Framework: supporting all young people into positive and sustained destinations

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ANNEX 2: Key interdependencies

Activity Agreements pilots
Activity Agreements improve the support and recognition of young people learning in a community learning and development or a third sector setting. There are two priority groups for Activity Agreements:

  • Young people identified as being vulnerable to disengagement prior to leaving compulsory education
  • Young people who initially move into a positive post-school destination but who do not sustain it

The common factor in eligibility is that the young person could not engage and sustain a place in learning provision without personalised key worker supports provided by a range of agencies across the broad community planning spectrum.

Ten local authority partnerships are currently piloting Activity Agreements around four priority areas:

  • the trusted professional workforce (those who offer intensive advice and guidance to vulnerable young people)
  • assessment processes (so that information about young people's needs and interests is appropriately captured and shared)
  • local provision (so that young people can be appropriately referred into existing, or new opportunities that are commissioned in response to their needs)
  • Education Maintenance Allowance (so that young people receive an appropriate financial incentive to participate)

Involvement in Activity Agreement activity constitutes a 16+ Learning Choices offer within the Personal/Skills Development category.

Financial Support
Education Maintenance Allowance ( EMA) is available to 16-19 year olds in school or college and those who are home-schooled. Current pilots of Activity Agreements will see local authorities and their partners offer EMA to young people learning with a much wider range of providers through community learning and development or a third sector setting.

The EMA legislation and guidance has always allowed local authorities to recognise non-school providers for the purposes of EMA, which has included a diverse range of provision in some areas. With the advent of 16+ Learning Choices, all local partnerships - whether they are involved in the Activity Agreement pilots or not - will want to consider whether financial support is available to young people consistently across different learning options.

Information, advice and guidance ( IAG) policy review
High quality, impartial IAG is important in helping young people (and others) make informed decisions about their pathways and future career choices. IAG should be a universal model - to support all learners at any age, whether they choose to learn at school, college, or in a work-based or non-formal setting. However, it should also have a particular focus on those people who are more likely to be vulnerable to disengagement from learning.

Our aim is to strengthen the support infrastructure for individuals relating to the acquisition of skills. This will be done through a service that gives individuals IAG about careers, employment, education and training, and funding. We will produce a policy framework for IAG in Scotland by summer 2010.

e-Prospectus and Common Application Process
As part of effective IAG, and to inform and drive choice, young people should be able to find out, online, what opportunities are available to them; and they should be able to apply for these opportunities through the same on-line resource. 16+ LC will be supported through the development of a comprehensive, local e-Prospectus, accessed through a national site.

The e-Prospectus we have in mind will be learner-centric: an accessible, searchable directory of information on different types and levels of learning and progression opportunities in a 'travel to learn' area. Over time, it will develop to provide wider information useful to learners such as financial support, transport and childcare. This will improve the information available to all learners, including those in need of more choices and chances; and it will be a valuable tool for IAG advisers and other influencers of young people's future choices such as parents, carers and teachers.

Our aim is for the first iteration of the e-Prospectus to be in place by December 2010, consistent with the timetable for roll-out of 16+ Learning Choices. This first iteration, will deliver a consistent way of accessing information on the range of learning opportunities available to 16-19 year-olds including college, National Training Programmes and volunteering opportunities.

16+ Learning Choices Data Hub
Effective data management is key to the delivery of 16+ Learning Choices. To this end, local and national systems and processes will be developed. This will drive improvements in service delivery and to measure, monitor and evaluate the impact of the model in relation to the National Indicator on positive and sustained destinations. Nationally, SDS will develop the 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub as the central mechanism for bringing together and sharing relevant information on young people and their learning choices. This development is underpinned by:

  • the establishment of data sharing agreements between partner organisations and protocols safeguarding the confidentiality of individuals
  • mechanisms to allow safe and easy transfer of data
  • provision of data and analysis to national and local partners to inform:
  • both SDS and local partnerships in their planning and delivery of services to meet individual young people's needs
  • the tracking of young people's progress within the Senior Phase, allowing local partners to engage quickly any who drop out of or complete their learning choice, with a view to helping them stay in learning
  • accurate and timely recording of confirmed and agreed offers of post-16 learning

It is crucial that all partners support SDS in ensuring the data held on Insight is current and accurate.

The SDS 'Insight' management information system will continue, for some time, to be the primary data source supporting delivery of 16+ Learning Choice. SDS will communicate on the 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub as this development progresses.