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Pathways for All - Kent 16 to 19 Review

Kent County Council (KCC) constantly seeks to provide the best education outcomes for people living in its area.

Currently we have a particular focus on provision for 16 to 19 year olds, and have recently led a comprehensive Review of what is available for this age group, and the issues that need to be addressed if the opportunities for our young people after Year 11 are to be improved.

Purpose of the 16 to 19 Review

The overall aim of the Review was to improve the options and life chances of Kent’s young people by enhancing the education, skills, and training opportunities available to them. To achieve this, it sought to develop a deeper and shared understanding of the issues facing both young people and providers.

The Review was therefore delivered in collaboration with providers from across the sector, and with the involvement of young people, their parents, and key stakeholders.

The process was overseen, guided and supported by Steering and Working groups with representation from across the sector and from stakeholders and providers.

The Evidence Base

The fieldwork to assemble the evidence base for the Review took place throughout the Summer Term 2021.

A comprehensive programme of qualitative research was delivered by a multi-professional team drawn from KCC, The Education People (TEP), and other colleagues, and with the support of external experts from ACL Consulting. This research team accumulated a substantial evidence base for the Review, principally from:

  • Interviews with post-16 providers (83 staff across 47 organisations) and other post‑16 stakeholders (15 interviews), 31 focus group discussions with young people in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13
  • Analysis of a range of relevant quantitative data
  • Online questionnaires for young people, for parents and for providers and other stakeholders.

A draft of the findings and proposed recommendations was produced over the course of the Autumn Term 2021. A consultation to gather feedback from the sector on the draft proposals took place during the latter part of the Autumn Term 2021.

The Review Report

The full Review Report (PDF, 3.4 MB), published on 28 April 2022, is available.

An Executive Summary of the Review (PDF, 1.3 MB) is also available.

The principal recommendations identify strategies to address the challenges faced. A Strategic Board has been set up to drive forward the development of 16 to 19 provision in the county. We are also looking to facilitate more local collaborations across the county to ensure that local offers meet the needs of all students at district level.

Relevant Practice

Throughout the fieldwork, examples of relevant practice were identified that show how parts of the county are already responding to various issues raised by the Review. The current list of Relevant Practice (PDF, 469.2 KB), linked to the relevant Review recommendations, has been published.

The Review team are eager to build on what is there and would encourage providers to develop and share strong relevant practice which responds to the findings and recommendations in the Review Report. If you feel you have relevant practice to share, please use this form to share it with the team.

Pathways For All

A Pathways For All event took place on 28 April 2022. In addition to formally launching the Review Report, the event also started discussions across the sector to explore how to take forward the recommendations. The responses from this have informed the initial implementation plans. There is a clear willingness in the sector to look afresh at post-16 provision, and to collaborate to further enhance the offer, but the implementation of the necessary changes will require a strong collaborative approach. No organisation has the statutory powers or resources to produce the necessary changes on its own; it is only by working together that we will make progress. Collaboration, locally and cross-county, was at the heart of our establishment of a Pathways for All Strategic Board, the first of our recommendations to be implemented.

The eight principal recommendations are:

  1. Improve outcomes through establishing a comprehensive benchmarking programme and promoting the adoption of a life skills curriculum
  2. Raise young people’s aspirations through promoting a model CEIAG curriculum and ensuring all young people are supported to consider a range of options
  3. Develop a comprehensive local offer, implemented via collaboration, to widen what is available and enable young people to exercise their choice
  4. Enhance provision below Level 2 by putting provision on a more stable footing, addressing the NEET issue and providing for progression
  5. Improve early support for students with mental health issues to promote well-being and remove a barrier to achievement and progression
  6. Improve access to post-16 provision by prioritising travel support to those who most need it to and by lobbying government to support post -16 travel
  7. Learn from lockdown to improve support for remote learning and retain more young people in some form of learning
  8. Establish a Strategic Board to take these recommendations forward and provide strategic oversight of provision.

Strategic Board Membership

The Pathways for All Strategic Board will take forward the recommendations of the Review, having strategic oversight of coordinating and developing 16+ provision throughout Kent. Board Membership consists of representatives from the following organisations:

  • Independent Chair - Dr Tony Breslin
  • Kent Further Education
  • Universities and Higher Education
  • Kent Association of Headteachers
  • Kent and Medway Grammar Schools Association
  • Kent Special Educational Needs Trust
  • Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
  • Kent Association of Training Organisations
  • Federation of Small Businesses
  • Cornerstone Employers Group
  • Kent County Council
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • Department for Education
  • Medway Council

Next Steps: Recommendation Implementation Groups

The Pathways for All Strategic Board have met and their focus now is on activating the groups with responsibility for the individual recommendations of the Review, Recommendation Implementation Groups (RIGs).

Initial membership of the groups aims to be representative of the sector. Strategic Board members are leading the groups and will ensure other relevant professionals are invited to participate as appropriate. Each of the principal recommendations now has a draft implementation plan outlining a potential way to take the recommendation forward, which will be adopted and adapted as appropriate.

The recommendations aim to improve the sector for all young people, including those with special needs and ensure there are good pathways for all.

Further Information

For further information or to participate, please contact the Core Team at