Published 10 August 2023
Over the last two decades, England has seen two enormous waves of change in the government’s approach to children and young people. The first wave of change was conducted by the 1997-2010 Labour government and involved significant public spending increases, new cross-cutting approaches and large-scale national and area-based prevention programmes. The second wave of change, after 2010, was conducted first by the Coalition, then by the Conservatives, with the priority being deficit reduction and austerity across government spending, alongside reducing central government intervention and making structural changes to the school system. This report, covering the period 1997 to 2019, focuses on how these changes played out in relation to 11–18-year-olds, across a range of indicators – child poverty, attainment at age 16, post-16 participation, school exclusion, school absence, teenage pregnancy, adolescent alcohol use, adolescent drug use, and youth offending.