The merits of international league tables can be debated, but the Unicef survey of 2007, which placed Britain 21st out of 21 developed countries for the wellbeing of its children, provoked great heart-searching in the UK, much of it justified. So it is cheering that the follow-up survey, released yesterday, finds improvements – albeit modest ones. In one area, though, we remain last – this time 29th out of 29 – for the proportion of young people in further education. The percentage of under-19s not in education, employment or training is higher than anywhere else.
Now, the figures relate to 2009-10, so are already out of date. They should also improve when education becomes compulsory in England up to the age of 18 in 2015. But the lack of apprenticeships and other training for less academic young people remains a black spot that has still to be adequately addressed.