A significant number of children and young people face a high risk of negative outcomes in adulthood, including unemployment, poor physical and mental health, addiction, debt and crime. These children and young people are commonly those who underperform in school. Some estimates put this group – sometimes called the ‘tail’ of educational disadvantage, i.e. those who struggle even when the majority of their peers are doing well – at around 20% of the school age population (The Tail: How England’s schools fail one child in five and what can be done, ed. Paul Marshall 2013).
Resources aimed at supporting this group are often inadequate i.e. there is not enough support, at least in the statutory system, to cater for them all. Furthermore, the resources that are available are often ill-directed i.e. not targeted at the right children and young people. This diagram illustrates the 20% of children and young people who are at risk, and the smaller cohort of people – many of them not the right ones – who receive support in the current system.