Key Data

We currently operate in more than 200 primary and secondary schools across England, Scotland, Wales (and shortly Northern Ireland) and to date we have helped more than 50,000 young people.

During the academic years 2013/14, we worked with 4,430 primary and secondary students in England, Scotland and Wales across 173 schools. Of these young people:

  • 66% were boys (white British boys are the most persistent low educational achievers);
  • 52% were judged to be ‘at risk’ on at least one indicator (eg deprivation, exclusion, SEN);
  • 37.1% were eligible for Free School Meals (FSM; national average – 16.3%);
  • 39.1% were assessed as having Special Educational Needs (SEN; national average – 17.9%).

In 2013/14, 41.6% of pupils eligible for FSM achieved at least 5 A* to C GCSEs (or equivalent) grades compared to 69.6% of all other pupils; this is a gap of 28.0 percentage points.


In 2013/14, 1,012 young people completed the Primary Pathway, incorporating the SkillForce Junior Prince’s Awards, and saw an increase of 21% above the national average in their attainment for reading, writing and mathematics (4.0 points compared to 3.3 points per child).

“Children who were on the SkillForce programme showed a dramatic improvement in both writing and maths compared with their peers. In writing, children made 1.8 average points more progress which is equivalent to nearly an additional two terms of work. The programme works wonders.” Ashley Best-White, Head Teacher, White Woman Lane School, Norfolk.


Through our programmes, SkillForce delivered 10,081 nationally recognised awards, of which 21% were accredited qualifications as defined by the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). Each student received an average of 2.6 awards:

  • 1242 – QCF Level 1 Awards;
  • 883 – QCF Level 2 Awards;
  • 3419 – First Aid Awards;
  • 4537 – other awards.


In 2013/14, 462 young people demonstrating challenging behaviour placing them at risk of exclusion participated in the Back of Track programme. Behaviour was evaluated by SkillForce Instructors against a set of 11 questions covering a student’s ability to abide by rules, work cooperatively, observe punctuality and act respectfully. Over a 12 week period, behaviour improved on average by 13.4%. These findings were confirmed by independent research undertaken by University College London’s Institute of Education involving the students’ teachers and parents or carers.

  • Improved attendance (84% of parents/carers agreed and 94% of teachers agreed);
  • Improved behaviour (79% of parents/carers agreed and 98% of teacher agreed).

Students were also asked to evaluate the contribution of SkillForce intervention to their conduct:

  • Improved attendance – 60% agreed;
  • Improved behaviour – 67% agreed;
  • Reduction in exclusions – 56% agreed.


Students were evaluated against a set of 32 statements covering three core components of character – resilience, confidence and self-esteem – aligned with the Young Foundation’s Framework of Outcomes for Young People (2012). In all three areas, improvement was demonstrated with the most challenging students showing an increase of 17% in resilience and confidence. The average improvement across all students in all three areas was 10%, reaching nearly 20% with respect keeping calm, stopping to think and learning from past mistakes.

Students were also asked to evaluate the contribution of SkillForce intervention to their character formation:

  • 75% agreed that SkillForce had taught them to respect others more;
  • 82% agreed that SkillForce had improved their ability to work in a team.


In 2013/14, whilst 931 primary and secondary students participating on a SkillForce programme were assessed to be at risk of exclusion on commencement, only 2% went on to be excluded – just 22 students. 254 of the 931 young people were of school-leaving age and only 5% of these were actually excluded – 13 students.


In 2013/14, 98.4% of school leavers who participated on a SkillForce programme went on to a positive destination – that is 9.4% above the national average of 89% and 48.5% above students in Pupil Referral Units or in receipt of alternative educational provision at KS4. Of these students:

  • 39.1% were assessed as having special educational needs (SEN; national average – 17.9%) – an indicator which reduces the likelihood of achieving a positive destination by 13%;
  • 32% were in receipt of free school meals (FSM; national average – 16.3%);
  • 18% were at risk of exclusion;
  • 4.4% possessed all three factors (SEN, FSM, high risk of exclusion) – of whom 95.5% achieved a positive destination (national average – 89%).

Cost Effectiveness

In 2013/14, the average cost across all our programmes of SkillForce provision was £1,586 per student. In each and every case, our students remained within mainstream education. In comparison, the average cost per annum of full-time alterative educational provision in the UK was £9,500 or, if a student is referred to a Pupil Referral Unit, between £12,000 and £18,000, with many of these young people exiting mainstream education. Overall, the average cost to society of an excluded student has been estimated at £64,000. This means that during 2013/14, SkillForce intervention in helping 241 young people avoid being excluded saved the public purse £15.4 million

According to Department for Education statistics relating to 2014, 8.6% of school-leavers aged 16-18 years were categorized to be not in education, employment or training (NEET). By contrast, only 1.6% of leavers in that year who participated on a SkillForce programme were NEETs.

The estimated average lifetime cost of a NEET to the public purse is £56,300, with resulting losses to the economy, individuals and families, etc of £104,300 in resource costs. Based on these figures, SkillForce intervention resulted in overall savings to society of £6,102, 800.

Furthermore, a young person who experiences a period NEET will, on average, lose up to £50,000 in earnings over their working life when compared to a peer who doesn’t. This figure rises to £225,000 when compared to a graduate peer who has never experienced a period of NEET.


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