The problem

Young people born into disadvantage face an uphill struggle from the start. Many fail at school and later are unable to find or keep jobs. All too often their situation is passed on to their own children – and so it continues. In the UK, this cycle has repeated for far too long – and we now risk losing the next generation of young people and their future contributions to society. We need to find a better way.

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There are 20 million 0-24 year olds in the UK. (ONS, 2015)
2.3 million of them are living a life of relative poverty (SMCPC, 2015)
and 1 million+ are living a life of persistent poverty (SMCP, 2015)
and are eligible for and claiming free school meals. (DfE, 2016)


Before even starting school, there is a 15% attainment gap between children living in relative poverty and the majority. (DfE, 2015)
43.1% of disadvantaged young people achieve 5 A*-C GCSEs (or equivalent, including English and maths) compared to 70.6% of their more advantaged peers.
That’s an attainment gap of 27.4% by the time they reach 16. (DfE, 2017)
Of those who fail to achieve their English and maths GCSEs (or equivalent) the first time around, only 7% manage to catch up by the time they reach 19. (Impetus-PEF, 2016)
Of the 13.2% of secondary school pupils eligible for free school meals, only 22% accessed university, compared to 39% of non-free school meal pupils – and only 2% of them made it to a top tier university. (DfE, 2016)


The risk of being NEET (not in education, employment or training) doubles for those who fail to achieve their GCSEs (or equivalent). (Youth Jobs Index, 2016)
There are 7 million 16-24 year olds in the UK. (Youth Jobs Index, 2016)
Our research shows 1.3 million of them are spending six months or longer NEET. (Youth Jobs Index, 2016)

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Get involved

Get involved with Impetus-PEF and help transform the performance of innovative charities and social enterprises so they can help many more disadvantaged children and young people. You can contribute money and/or volunteer your professional skills to help break the cycle of poverty. Read more..

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