Children's Services

Hampshire's Children and Young People's Plan

Priority 5:

Promoting vocational, leisure and recreational activities that provide opportunities for children and young people to experience success and make a positive contribution

Key win

Increasing the percentage of young people in education, employment or training.

The experiences of children and young people as they grow up have a significant impact on the adults they become and their life chances. As a Children’s Trust, we recognise the value of positive, enjoyable activities in helping them fulfil their potential, by developing confidence and experiencing success. Young people can, and do, play an active role in local communities, bringing enthusiasm and new ideas to a range of activities, including supporting neighbours, teaching sports and raising money for charity. We will work together to provide and/or promote opportunities for children and young people to play, be active and volunteer. At a county and local level, we will raise awareness of the positive contribution young people make.

We will continue to look for more effective ways to engage children and young people in developing services, seeking their feedback and using this constructively so that they can see how they have made a difference.

By targeting youth support services to those in need, we will help the young people who find it difficult to stay in education to get a place on a training course, or get a job. In particular this includes young people who are leaving care, teenage parents or those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Through the involvement of schools and colleges in the Children’s Trust, we will continue to improve the quality of careers advice and the range of courses on offer once young people leave school, ready for the raising of the participation age (the age at which young people legally have to stay in education).

Key activity areas:

  • providing targeted youth support, focused on defined groups of young people most in need (in order to increase the proportion of young people in education, employment or training)
  • developing the range of local activities provided by the voluntary and community sectors including access to the Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • providing high-quality careers education, advice and guidance in schools
  • supporting care leavers in the transition to adulthood and independence
  • preventing young people entering the Youth Justice System, or reoffending
  • promoting the positive contribution made by children and young people
  • helping young people access opportunities that give them a role in the community, e.g. volunteering and youth councils, and promoting rights, respect and responsibilities
  • promoting voice and participation for all children and young people, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities
  • providing positive activities for children and young people with disabilities, that give families a short break
  • ensure that young carers receive 'time out' from their caring duties to take part in recreational and fun activities
  • promoting play including sport, outdoor activities and music
  • building resilience and personal confidence
  • improving access to services for vulnerable children and young people living in rural areas.

How this has improved since 2009

Young offenders

The rate of first-time offending in Hampshire has fallen significantly since 2009. The number of first-time offenders aged 10–17 reduced by almost 40%, from 1,340 per 100,000 young people in 2008/09 to 825 in 2010/11. Youth Crime Prevention Teams (formerly known as Youth Inclusion Support Panels) are now based within local Children’s Services teams, offering a range of preventative activities including arts, sports and environmental projects, targeted to those at risk of becoming offenders.

The number of young people receiving a custodial sentence fell from 79 in 2009/10 to 50 in 2010/11. As this group of young people are at the highest risk of re-offending, Hampshire is part of the Wessex Resettlement Consortium, which provides enhanced support to all young people leaving the secure estate following a custodial sentence. The proportion of young people who re-offend within 12 months was 34.6% in December 2010, a fall of 3.5% from the previous year.

From April 2012, Hampshire has its own Youth Offending Team (YOT), following the decision to disaggregate from the Wessex YOT.

Apprenticeships and internships

Hampshire County Council launched an apprenticeship scheme in 2009, with 20 young people aged 16–24, based in a variety of departments, working towards an NVQ Level 2. Since then 53 young people have completed an apprenticeship. One of the first apprentices achieved national recognition as National Apprentice Ambassador 2010 and now works part-time for the County Council as a Children and Family Support Worker.

The latest scheme, Internships Plus, aims to provide work and training opportunities for care leavers. Launched in summer 2011, 19 young care leavers are currently working in within the County Council and training for an NVQ Level 2 in customer care.

Children in Care Pledge

Significant progress was demonstrated against the first Pledge for children in care, which has recently been revised by our Care Ambassadors.

Children and young people in care wanted:

Achievements included:

Extra tuition

  • Every school has a Designated Teacher who actively supports children in care.
  • £500 a term is provided to Hampshire schools for each child in care to meet educational needs. This is used for extra tuition, school trips and study materials.
  • Laptops, mobile broadband and printers were provided for 820 children in care and care leavers over the age of eight.
  • Children in care have priority for school places.

Individual budget

  • Decisions about requests for money are made quicker, so that children in foster or residential care do not lose out on things like school trips.
  • Foster carers and children have free access to County Council parks and attractions.
  • Free music tuition is provided by Hampshire Music Service.

Care Council

  • The children in care website gives children a chance to have their say.
  • Care Ambassadors promote local engagement of children and young people in care and are the key link between children in care and their corporate parents.

Consistent adult

  • Children and young people have a consistent social worker and named Independent Reviewing Officer wherever possible.
  • The advocacy service provides support so that children and young people in care can voice their views at meetings and influence the decisions that affect them.

Better placement choice

  • Young people can choose to stay in residential or foster care until they are 18.
  • More foster carers have been recruited and better support is available for them.
  • Foster carer profiles give information to children about the family they are going to live with before they arrive.

Peer mentors

  • The summer school scheme at the University of Winchester provides opportunities for buddying.
  • Care Ambassadors act as representatives for children in care, leading development of the new Pledge.

Rights, Respect and Responsibilities

Hampshire’s innovative Rights, Respect and Responsibilities programme has been in place in the county’s schools for several years. Based on the UNCRC, it aims to help children become responsible citizens, achieve their potential and increase understanding of their rights and also their responsibility to respect the rights of others. International research has praised the initiative, concluding that the County Council can be considered a global leader in its promotion and support of schools that provide education consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Children’s Rights Centre, Cape Breton University, Canada). Their research showed a positive impact on children’s interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, engagement with school and aspirations. Schools participating in the programme report that: lessons have become more creative, children find it easier to express their ideas and demonstrate empathy, children feel they have a real voice in the school, and there are fewer incidents of inappropriate behaviour.

Why this is still a priority

16-18 year olds not in education, employment or training

While the percentage of young people not in education, employment or training (known as NEET) has reduced from a peak of 6.3% during the recession (figures for 2008/09), this remains an area of focus. Data for 2010 shows that 5.2% of 16–18 year olds were NEET.

Care leavers in education, employment or training

Increasing the numbers of care leavers in education, employment or training has proved challenging during a period of recession. Care leavers have been targeted for one-to-one support and dedicated programmes (such as Internships Plus). The percentage of care leavers in education, employment or training has fallen from 64.1% in 2008/09 to 43.0% in 2010/11.

Changes in Youth Support Services and careers information, advice and guidance

Hampshire's Youth Support Services are currently being redesigned in order to meet funding challenges and evolving national policies. Responsibility for careers advice and guidance will transfer to schools in September 2012.

At a local level, voluntary and independent providers have been commissioned to deliver youth support, based on an assessment of needs completed by Local Children’s Partnerships.