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Government warns Tower Hamlets Council over NEETs

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 October 2013

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Teenagers in Tower Hamlets are falling off the council’s radar, the government has warned.

Skills minister Matthew Hancock has written to the council – along with 11 other local authorities in England – over fears that 16-18 year-olds are not being tracked properly to see if they are in education or training.

He warned that if the system does not follow those who are not – known as NEETs - they will miss out on schemes available to help them find employment or learning opportunities.

“New figures show a worrying variation in how well councils track participation in education and training among 16 and 17 year-olds,” Mr Hancock said.

“Some are performing superbly while others are falling behind. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so I have written to authorities we have particular concerns about to remind them of their duty to collect this crucial information.”

The borough was one of only two in London to receive a letter – the other being Waltham Forest.

But the council pointed to a reduction of 16-18 year-olds not in education, employment or training from 12.6 per cent in 2005 to 4.9 per cent in 2013 - adding that it was currently at its lowest figure ever in Tower Hamlets.

The proportion of 16-18 year-olds in the borough whose status was unknown fell from 9.2 per cent to 7.2 per cent in that period.

A spokesman said the criticisms did not take into account “the unique challenges faced by inner-city boroughs.”

“Tower Hamlets has one of the most dynamic communities in the country with high levels of private rented accommodation and resident churn.

“These present unique challenges for tracking young people not shared by other boroughs across the country.”

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