GCSE pupils warned: there are no jobs out there

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The Independent Online

Teenagers will face a hard time if they try to seek a job straight after receiving their GCSE results, it was revealed today.

The number of 16 to 18-year-olds not in school, work or training has risen in the past year by 5,000 to 191,000, latest figures show.

The numbers of "Neets" (16 to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training) was "still too high", a spokeswoman for the Department for Education conceded – but record amounts were being spent trying to keep 16 to 19-year-olds in employment or training. Labour's shadow education spokeswoman Karen Buck said the figures showed "the talents of too many people were going to waste".

Around 650,000 young people are due to receive their GCSE results today, with the expectation that the pass rate will be roughly the same as in 2011, when 69.8 per cent of pupils achieved five A* to Cs.

Headteachers will also be biting their nails over today's results as their jobs are on the line. Education Secretary Michael Gove has decreed that every school should reach a target of at least 40 per cent of their pupils achieving five A* to Cs, including maths and English in this year's exams.

The target is up from 35 per cent this year when 107 schools failed to make the grade. Ministers have warned that schools that fail to reach 40 per cent could be forced into becoming one of their flagship academies, with the possibility that the headteacher could face the sack.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, accused Mr Gove of "wanting to have his cake and eat it". Demands that schools improve did not tally with the guidance given that the results should be in line with last year's pass rate.

The Government insisted every school's future would be decided on an individual basis. The DfE spokeswoman said: "We make no apologies for setting high expectations and stepping in where pupils' education is suffering."