Meet the Neets

Within three or four weeks (depending on the school) there will be a new influx of Neets flushed into society. That’s when the Year 11s across the country will begin study leave for their GCSEs.

Neet is an acronym for “not in education, employment or training”.

Many of the Year 11s will actually use some of the time to study. At my school, and I am sure at others, incentives have been put into place to get them to attend revision (that’s BritSpeak for “study” or “review in preparation for an exam”) sessions. Their exams are spread out over about a month from mid-May to mid-June.

However, a significant number will not pick up a book or study guide again. Most of them will stumble through exams based on the philosophy that all must have prizes. They will get what will generously be called a “qualification” in a few subjects. Then they will do nothing. Their financial support will be picked up by the state. The number of Neets is rapidly rising and according to the Sunday Telegraph:

More than 1.2 million 16- to 24-year-olds in England, Scotland and Wales – almost a fifth of the age group – are spending their time doing literally nothing, according to a study published last week. Among their ranks are the troubled, the badly educated, and the feckless and work-shy. In the 16 to 19 age bracket, 11 per cent are classed as Neets – double the proportion in Germany and France.

I suppose it is nice to find something where we outrank out main continental competitors besides teenage pregnancy, though clear the two are closely related.

The problem is only going to get worse. As reported today in the Telegraph, one child under six years old is expelled from school every week. In the 2004-05 school year (the latest for which stats are available, though each year continues to be worse than the one before) in primary schools there were:

43,720 suspensions

1,090 exclusions

960 reception year [4-5 years old] pupils suspended

60 reception year pupils excluded

330 pupils suspended for racism

310 suspended for sexual misconduct

150 suspended for drugs and alcohol related incidents


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