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By the numbers - Neets

The number of teenagers who are Neet (not in education, employment or training) has risen as it becomes harder to find jobs due to England's ongoing economic problems.

And the proportion of teenagers staying in full-time education has dropped for the first time in 10 years, according to government figures released last week. The fall, however, is marginal and overall participation in education and training among 16 to 18-year-olds has risen to 85.5 per cent.

But the remaining 17.8 per cent who are not in education or training are less likely to be employed than in previous years: the proportion of Neets has risen from 7.5 per cent last year to 8.1 per cent this year.

Compulsory schooling still ends at 16, but the government has said it will raise the participation age to 17 by 2013 and 18 by 2015. The idea of raising the participation age was proposed by the previous Labour government, which also wanted to extend the ability to issue penalties for non-attendance to those aged over 16. The coalition has delayed the legislation needed to issue fines, but has said that this will be reviewed on an annual basis from 2014.

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