The Youth Cohort Study (YCS) is a series of longitudinal surveys that contacts a sample of an academic year-group or "cohort" of young people in the spring following completion of compulsory education and again usually annually until they are aged 19 or 20. The survey looks at young people's education and labour market experience, their training and qualifications and a wide range of other issues, including socio-demographic variables. This publication provides summary findings from the most recent survey of 16 year olds, the first "sweep" of the twelfth cohort of the YCS. The survey was carried out in Spring 2004. The previous survey of 16 year olds was carried out in Spring 2002, and the findings published in SFR04/2003.

Findings reported in this SFR are also linked to another SFR published today. The Department has a PSA target to increase the proportion of 19 year olds who achieve at least level 2 by three percentage points between 2004 and 2006. The SFR provides an early indication of progress towards this target as the cohort reported on is the same one that will be measured in 2006 to determine whether the target is met. A new administrative measure will monitor this target and has been used to set a provisional 2004 baseline, details of which can be found in SFR05/2005 "Level 2 and 3 Attainment by Young People in England measured using Matched Administrative Data: Attainment by Age 19 in 2004".

Revisions and Amendments

  • 18 April 2005 - There was an error identified in an attainment variable used to calculate the weighting for the SFR (SFR04/2005), which had a small effect on a number of cells in the tables. This error has now been rectified and the tables have been corrected.
  • 29 June 2006 - The SFRs for cohort 12 of the Youth Cohort Study (YCS) for both 16 year olds and 17 year olds were subject to minor revisions on 29 June 2006. Two errors had been discovered. Firstly, a minor error in the weighting for 16 year olds. The vast majority of percentages did not change, but a small proportion of cells changed by 1 percentage point and a few by 2 percentage points. The error in the weighting for 16 year olds had a knock-on effect on the data in the SFR for 17 year olds and therefore this also needed revising. Again the effect was very small with the vast majority of percentages not changing. Secondly in the SFR for 16 year olds there was a small error in the type of establishment for those in full-time education (table D) and the figures are now slightly higher for state schools and correspondingly lower for independent schools.

Contact details

Clare Baker
Telephone: 0114 274 2439
Email: Clare.Baker@education.gsi.gov.uk