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Norfolk has most students in England not in education or employment after their A-levels

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 June 2013 | UPDATED: 07:42 26 June 2013

Great Yarmouth college principal Penny Wycherley said the figures for the college had improved since 2010.  Picture: James Bass

Great Yarmouth college principal Penny Wycherley said the figures for the college had improved since 2010. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Norfolk had the highest proportion of students in England who dropped out of education or employment after leaving sixth form, according to data published by the Department for Education.

The figures showed that 56pc of students who took A-level or equivalent exams in 2010 were in sustained education, employment or training during the two terms that followed.

Suffolk and Cambridgeshire both outperformed the 69pc national average for students at this level, key stage five, with 73pc and 70pc respectively.

However, Norfolk was broadly in line with the national trend for students two years younger, who had finished their GCSEs.

A total of 88pc of these were in education or employment after the exams, just below the national average of 89pc, compared to 89pc in Suffolk and 90pc in Cambridgeshire.

For Norfolk schools and colleges with at least 50 students in key stage five, Easton College had the lowest proportion, 30pc, who were in education or employment for the following two terms.

Great Yarmouth College had the second lowest proportion – 43pc.

Penny Wycherley, who took over as the college’s principal after it went into crisis in 2010, said figures had improved since then.

She said: “It’s never as simple as aspiration, but it’s a major factor. English and maths are the really important things. Norfolk is behind the national average, so there’s an issue around that. It’s a rural county, and that always makes some issues – it’s easier if you can travel easily.”

She said it was important to work with primary school pupils to raise aspirations at an early age, and give students good careers advice.

She urged employers to help improve aspirations and work skills by offering more work placements and apprenticeships, with financial support available for smaller firms.

Norfolk had a slightly lower proportion of key stage five students going on to higher education, 41pc, compared to 44pc in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, with 5pc going to universities in the top-ranked Russell Group, compared to 6pc in Suffolk and 10pc in Cambridgeshire.

The biggest difference was in the proportion of students recorded as going into sustained employment and/or training. Just 1pc of Norfolk sixth-form leavers fell into this category, compared to 16pc in Suffolk and 13pc in Cambridgeshire.

Together with Southend, Norfolk had the highest proportion of sixth- form leavers whose activity was not captured in the data – a total of 35pc.

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