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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.3 Strategy for the social inclusion of young people

Last update: 22 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 13/08/2020 - 12:37

On this page
  1. Existence of a National Strategy on social inclusion
  2. Scope and contents
  3. Responsible authority
  4. Revisions/ Updates

Existence of a National Strategy on social inclusion

There is no single strategy to promote the social inclusion of young people; however this does not mean that it is not considered important. 

The key strategies which promote the social inclusion of young people are: 

The following section concentrates on the actions in these strategies which apply to young people – it does not attempt to cover the entire strategies in a comprehensive manner.


Scope and contents

Social Mobility Strategy

Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential (Department of Education, 2017), published under May’s Conservative, sets out the government’s overarching ambition of leaving no community behind, as it was highlighted in the 2017 State of the Nation that there is a widening geographical division in the UK (see the section on ‘Main challenges to social inclusion’ in the article on ‘General Context’). Hence, the paper emphasises on the importance of  raising standards, and putting social mobility at the heart of their education policy in order to achieve such ambition.

Similar to the previous strategy, the plan identifies four key lifestage ambitions to help contribute towards their overarching ambition to ensure no one is prevented from achieving their potential:

  • firstly, to close the ‘word gap’ in the early years; 
  • secondly, to close the attainment gap in school while continuing to raise standards for all; 
  • thirdly, to have high quality post-16 education choices for all young people; 
  • and for everyone to achieve their full potential in rewarding careers. 

The plan emphasises on how a good standard of education is imperative to improving social mobility and inclusion, but it also extends beyond education, and stresses that in order for their framework/plan to be successful, it is also necessary for everyone in wider society to collectively work towards achieving equality of opportunity. These actors include educators, businesses, and civil society. 

Participation Strategy

In 2013, the Department for Education published statutory guidance for local authorities entitled Participation of young people: education, employment and training. The guidance outlined the responsibilities of local authorities with respect to securing sufficient and suitable education provision for young people in their respective areas; raising the participation age; and promoting the participation of vulnerable young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Note: in 2013 and 2015, the participation age was raised to 17 and 18 respectively. Young people are now expected to participate in: full-time education or training; or part-time education or training, alongside volunteering.

Following the English Apprenticeships 2020 vision document, published in December 2016, which stated the government’s plan to increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships by 2020, the government has:

  • Announced a £10 million boost to degree apprenticeship opportunities to increase the number of degree apprenticeships available to young people, in order to provide more opportunities for young people to actualise their potential, and gain workplace skills and qualifications together. 
  • Worked in partnership with employers, universities and colleges to offer over five thousand new opportunities and career fields for apprentices. 
  • Launched the ‘GetInGoFar’ campaign in May 2016, which demonstrates to young people how with an apprenticeship they can ‘go far’, in some cases up to degree level. Ultimately, inspiring young people to consider apprenticeships post-16 education. 

Social Justice Strategy

In March 2012, the Government published Social Justice: Transforming Lives, which outlined a new approach to tackling poverty. It set out the view that the problem is not solely caused by income poverty alone, and that the focus on income over the last few decades has ignored the root causes of poverty, allowing social problems to deepen and become entrenched. The strategy set out the following principles which informed its approach:

  • a focus on prevention and early intervention
  • interventions which focus on recovery and independence, not maintenance
  • promotion of work, for those who are able to work, as the most sustainable route out of poverty, while offering unconditional support for those who are severely disabled and cannot work
  • designing and delivering solutions at the local level
  • interventions which provide a fair deal to the taxpayer.

Chapter Two of the strategy focuses on young people. It outlines what is being done to support young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes helping schools support their poorest pupils via the pupil premium (see the information about the pupil premium in the article on 'Support Measures for Learners in Early Childhood and School Education' in the Eurydice description of the education system in England) and keeping children engaged in mainstream education through measures to tackle bad behaviour, absenteeism and the causes and impacts of exclusion. It also discusses measures to help those at greatest risk, including young offenders and those involved in gangs and children experiencing poor mental health. 

Furthermore, the Race Disparity Audit, published in October 2017, identified minority groups at risk of social exclusion. Thereafter, the government launched the ‘Ethnicity Facts and Figures’ website which provides analysis of the audit’s findings and data. The aim of the audit was to not only gain clarification of how ethnicity affects people’s life chances and how they are treated across areas such as education, employment, health, crime, and benefits, but also, to provide transparency and awareness of race inequality in the UK. The data has provided sufficient data to assess the differences between ethnic groups, understand what areas have large disparity gaps, and to inform the development of the government’s future strategies and policies. 

As a result, the government has already launched a series of programmes to address the disparities reported in the audit.  

  • The Department of Work and Pensions are targeting 16 to 24 year ethnic minorities in twenty hotspots from becoming NEET, by providing mentoring schemes, traineeships, vocational training and workplaces.
  • The Ministry of Justice will be implementing recommendations made by the Lammy Review (an independent review of the criminal justice system treatment and outcomes of ethnic minorities). 
  • The Department of Education will conduct an external review of practice in exclusions, focusing on groups disproportionately likely to be excluded.

Child Poverty Strategy

The Child Poverty Strategy was published in 2014 and builds upon the 2011 Strategy. The strategy stated the government’s commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020. It sets out the actions to be taken between 2014 and 2017 to tackle child poverty through:

  • supporting families into work and increasing their earnings
  • improving living standards
  • preventing poor children becoming poor adults through raising their educational attainment.

The strategy meets the duties set out in Section 2 of the Child Poverty Act 2010 (see the section on 'Main concepts' in the General Context article).

Responsible authority

See the article on 'Administration and Governance'.


Child Poverty Strategy

The government has decided not to publish a Child Poverty Strategy for 2018 to 2021. In September 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions stated the government repealed their requirement under the Child Poverty Act 2010 to publish a child poverty strategy. The government believes to tackle the root causes of poverty and disadvantage and promote social mobility, a new approach is required, which ‘goes beyond the safety net of the welfare state’. Hence the new approach consists of measures to aid in parental worklessness and promote children’s educational attainment, as these areas will in turn ‘make a big difference to disadvantaged children’.

As a result, the government has proceeded with the Troubled Families Programme,(see the section on ‘Programmes for vulnerable young people’ in the article on ‘Inclusive programmes for vulnerable people’ for more information), and  in 2020, it was announced that the Programme will be receiving £165m in funding to ensure it continues for another year. 

Additionally,  the Government has published ‘Improving Lives: Helping Workless Families.’ It provides a framework on how the government will improve children’s outcomes, targeting specifically, children who face multiple disadvantages. It identified indicators and measures to track progress on areas like parental conflict, debt and homelessness which affect children and families’ outcomes. For more information, see section ‘Programmes for vulnerable young people’ in the article on ‘Inclusive programmes for young people’.