Department for Education
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Schools Minister Iain Wright to launch £10 million fund to raise aspirations of disadvantaged young people

Schools Minister Iain Wright will today invite third sector organisations to bid for a share of up to £10 million to raise the aspirations of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The fourth round of the Youth Sector Development Fund (YSDF) will focus on supporting the aims of the Government’s Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) Strategy published last month.
Bids should demonstrate how young people would be imaginatively shown the full range of options open to them in education and work, such as through “taster sessions” at universities or real experience of different careers.
Around 25 third-sector organisations are expected to benefit from the fund, through a mixture of grants and business support, from April 2010 to March 2011.
Schools Minister IainWright will announce the launch of bidding at the Association of Colleges’ conference on IAG today. In anticipation of the launch, he said:

Many organisations in the third sector are already working with disadvantaged young people and parents in innovative ways that challenge negative stereotypes and raise aspirations.
Today I am inviting these organisations to build on that experience and to develop exciting new approaches so that young people and parents get the impartial information, advice and guidance about learning and work opportunities that they need, including experiencing those routes at first hand.
In particular I want to see proposals which will help young people and their families with low aspirations and capture their imagination through exciting forms of work experience, ‘tasters’ and work-related learning, and increase support through mentoring.
The strategy we launched last month heralded a radical change in IAG, modernising IAG so that it is accessible for all of today’s young people and relevant to the rapidly changing economy - to make sure every young person, whatever their background, can aim for the top.

More than 9,600 young people have so far benefited from the three previous rounds of the YSDF (against the 7,800 expected), which have seen

  • Five large organisations, or Pathfinders, who worked with the most disadvantaged young people, funded from April 2008. The five were: Kids Company, UK Youth, Fairbridge, Speaking Up and Leap Confronting Conflict
  • Thirteen medium-sized organisations funded from December 2008. The focus of this round was on preventative measures to stop young people becoming involved in anti-social behaviour, gun and gang crime. A full list of these organisations can be found on YSDF's website. 
  • Twenty-five smaller organisations funded from June 2009. The focus of this round was on positive activities, particularly those taking place on Friday and Saturday nights in support of the Open Campaign. A full list of these organisations can be found on YSDF's website.

More than 3,000 of those young people have so far completed training or achieved qualifications, against a predicted 2,006, while 413 have taken up positions of responsibility towards their peers (such as peer mentors or youth workers), well ahead of the 270 target.
Iain Wright will also take the opportunity at the conference today to launch revised statutory guidance to local authorities on assessments relating to people with learning difficulties. This follows a public consultation on the draft guidance earlier this year and a commitment made in the IAG Strategy.
An assessment relating to learning difficulties results in a written report of a young person’s educational and training needs and the provision needed to meet those needs.
The Education and Skills Act 2008 places local authorities under a duty to arrange for an assessment to be conducted for all those for whom they maintain an SEN statement and whom they expect to leave school to receive post-16 education, training or higher education.
Local authorities also have the power to arrange an assessment for anyone with a learning difficulty but without an SEN statement in their final year of compulsory schooling, or who is over compulsory school age but has not yet attained the age of 25, and is receiving, or in the opinion of the authority likely to receive, post-16 education or training.
Schools Minister Iain Wright said: 'Identifying the training and support needs that young people with learning difficulties need is vital for their development and futures.'
Further information

Through the new Youth Sector Development Fund, the DCSF is leading delivery of an integrated investment approach for good third sector organisations, focusing on enabling providers to sustain and expand their provision. The specification for bids for the fourth round can be found at the YSDF website. The administration of the competition will be handled by Ecotec, the YSDF managing body. Organisations who meet the criteria for YSDF funding and want to apply need to complete the YSDF Fourth Round form (downloadable from the YSDF website) and email it to to arrive by noon on 4 February 2010. To contact Ecotec, please phone 0845 630 8699 or email

Quality, Choice and Aspiration: a strategy for young people’s information, advice and guidance was launched on 26 October 2009. Paragraph 4.8 of that strategy says that:“We will make £10m newly available through the Youth Sector development Fund (YSDF) specifically to support the development of IAG that responds to the needs of young people.” 

The IAG strategy can be downloadd online.

The revised statutory guidance to local authorities on assessments relating to people with learning difficulties, can also be downloaded online. 

The consultation outcome report is available online.

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