Learning and Work Institute created a new measure called the Youth Opportunity Index to show how life is faring for young people across England.
It brings together government data on outcomes for employment and education for young people across England’s local authorities and was created as part of our Youth Commission. An analysis of the findings is the second of five reports produced by the Commission.
The Index has produced some surprising results.
London is the big winner, with ten of its boroughs in the top 20 overall. This largely reflects outstanding success over recent decades in improving the education system in London. Beyond this, the picture is mixed. There is no clear north-south divide, instead the differences within regions are at least as big as those between regions. For example, Buckinghamshire is second behind Sutton, but Trafford is third. Nottingham and Kingston upon Hull are the bottom two, but Brighton and Southampton are also in the bottom ten.
Each region apart from the North East has a local authority in the top 30, while every region apart from the South West and London has a local authority in the bottom 30. There is also no clear urban-rural split, though more deprived urban areas are more likely to score lower in the Index. Poverty and deprivation are perhaps the clearest predictors of poorer performance in the Index, suggesting a need to support and improve.
Each local authority’s score reflects how far its performance on that variable is from the highest scoring area. Results are driven by the strength of local economies, socioeconomic factors and national policies, as well as local services. They reflect education and employment outcomes for young people living in local authority areas, rather than solely the success of those local authorities.