The National Performance Indicator on school leaver destinations and our Skills Strategy, Skills for Scotland: A Lifelong Skills Strategy, both reflect the Scottish Government's wish that all young people stay in learning after 16 since this is the best way of improving their long-term employability. Skills for Scotland gives a clear commitment to young people about the routes on offer to education, employment and training - and the support they can expect - and recognises the need to focus on young people who are at risk of moving into a negative destination.
Inspiring Scotland is a long-term initiative providing sustainable funding to third sector organisations to contribute to tackling significant social issues.
16+ Learning Choices is our model for helping young people stay in learning post-16. It will help build capacity in individuals, families and communities; and will support economic growth in Scotland. Critically, it will help prevent and reduce youth unemployment.
Opportunities for All was launched by the First Minster as part of the Programme for Government in early September. Further detail was given during the publication of Putting Learners at the Centre - Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education. The aim of the commitment is to ensure an offer of a place in learning or training to every 16 - 19 year old who is not currently in a job, in learning or in training. Ministers have stressed that, in reforming and refocusing the system, they will place more weight on young people and to radically enhance the offer for young people. Through Opportunities for All, all 16-19 year olds will have a place in post-16 education and training, appropriate to their needs and circumstances.
The Smith Group, chaired by Lord Smith, was established in 2004 to challenge and support Scottish Government on education policy, enterprise in education and youth employment issues. In particular the group has focussed on young people not in education employment and training and has shown longstanding support for the More Choices, More Chances strategy, the Scottish Government's policy framework for tacking youth unemployment.
This year the Smith Group have produced a report containing a number of recommendations for the Scottish Government in relation to youth employability, including how we can further improve support for those young people at the greatest risk of experiencing long term unemployment. Some of the recommendations contained in the report are already being taken forward and Lord Smith will meet with Ministers to review progress over the coming year
Curriculum for Excellence aims to achieve a transformational change in education in Scotland by providing a coherent, more flexible and enriched curriculum from 3-18 with learners' needs at the heart of planning and delivery and designed to enable all young people to develop the four capacities. In doing so, it will offer better educational outcomes for all young people, providing More Choices and More Chances for those who need them.
The design of Curriculum for Excellence enables schools and their partners to build a flexible system that offers personalisation and choice to meet the needs of all children and young people, wherever their learning is taking place. It also provides clear and supported pathways for young people to make successful transitions and to continue learning beyond compulsory schooling. In the Senior Phase - broadly 15-18 - it will become more common for a young person to learn through a range of providers, including schools, colleges, universities, community learning and development, youth work and in other less formal settings. This makes it particularly important to ensure that all young people can experience a coherent curriculum in the full range of settings.
In delivering these entitlements, partners should take account of the local economy and labour markets, ensuring that young people have access to opportunities which enable them to develop the skills, knowledge and enterprising attitudes they will need to meet the challenges of life and work in the 21st century. This will be particularly important in responding to the disproportionate impacts of recession on young people and the pressure on the opportunities available to them. Those who leave school at the earliest opportunity are more likely to experience significant periods of disengagement and unemployment in later years. 16+ Learning Choices will help to counter this by providing opportunities for young people to develop the skills they will need for the future.