London’s Poverty Profile

19-year-old qualifications by borough

What does this chart show?

In every London borough, the majority of 19-year-olds have Level 3 qualifications. Barking & Dagenham has the highest proportion of 19-year-olds lacking Level 3 qualifications at 46%, followed by Havering at 44%.

There is huge variation across boroughs with a 21 percentage point gap between the worst performing borough – Barking & Dagenham, and the best performing boroughs – Redbridge, Kensington & Chelsea and Harrow (in all three, only 25% of 19-year-olds lack Level 3 qualifications).

The pattern of qualifications by borough looks similar to 2014, with boroughs in the Outer West & Northwest and Inner West generally performing better on this measure than Outer East & Northeast. In previous editions of this report, Greenwich has been the worst performer, with 48% lacking a Level 3 qualification in 2014. It is now 41%, an improvement but still in the bottom five boroughs. 

Across England, the fall in 19-year-olds lacking Level 3 qualifications was mainly driven by an increase in young people achieving a Level 3 through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications, with the proportion achieving A-levels remaining flat. 

Boroughs with comparatively high proportions lacking Level 3 qualifications generally have comparatively high numbers of students not achieving A* – C in English and maths GCSEs at age 16 in 2016. 40% of pupils in Barking & Dagenham failed to achieve A* – C in English and maths at age 16 (Lewisham was the worst performing borough at 44%). Kensington & Chelsea had the third highest attainment (only 24% failing to achieve).

There are some notable outliers. Havering has a significantly higher proportion of 19-year-olds lacking Level 3 qualifications than 16-year-olds not achieving expected standards at age 16. This may indicate rapidly improving attainment between cohorts. Another explanation is that Havering has the highest proportion of 19-year-olds going into employment directly from A-level courses, which may indicate higher than average attrition for young people continuing with education post-16. There are seven London boroughs (all in Outer London) with five percentage points or more 19-year-olds lacking Level 3 qualifications than failing to achieve GCSEs at 16. 


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