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Transitions at 14: Analysing the intake of 14–19 education institutions

Cook, WAJ and Thorley, Craig and Clifton, Jonathan (2016) Transitions at 14: Analysing the intake of 14–19 education institutions. UNSPECIFIED. Institute for Public Policy Research.


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In England, more young people are now able to change education institution at age 14. This follows a growth in recent years in the number of institutions that cater for 14–19-yearolds, such as university technical colleges (UTCs), studio schools and 14–19 free schools. These institutions typically have a focus on vocational or technical education, but promise to deliver a broad education to a wide mixture of pupils. UTCs, studio schools and 14–19 free schools were all introduced following the passing of the Academies Act 2010. Each of them implement different models of the provision of 14–19 education, and of the extent to which vocational and technical education is blended with a mainstream academic curriculum. All, however, are designed to build relationships with a range of business partners. Despite this growth in their number, relatively little is known about how 14–19 institutions impact upon their local education markets. This has led to many claims and counter-claims being made about UTCs and studio schools, ranging from arguments that they provide high-quality technical routes for young people, through to fears that they will ‘track’ low-attaining pupils and impede their chances of success. IPPR’s ‘Transitions at age 14’ study seeks to understand these claims in more detail. It will examine how 14–19 education institutions are becoming a more significant part of local schools provision, and what this means for both nearby mainstream secondary schools and the wider education system. This briefing is the first, interim publication of our ‘Transitions at 14’ study, and presents new findings, based on analysis of the Department for Education’s National Pupil Database, to help inform the debate.

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