It was estimated by the NatWest (see NatWest press release 12 Oct 07) that in total 24% (93,813) of students took a pre-university gap year for 2006, deferred to 2007. This would include those who applied to HE after their results, as well as those who asked for a deferral, having been given a place at HE. The figure of 24% ties in with a generally accepted view, albeit not proven. The official UCAS figures for those who deferred are much lower and are below.
UCAS figures (does not include those who will apply/re-apply to HE after their results):
For 2015 cycle year
- 5.4% of accepted applicants deferred a year (28,805 of 532,265)
For 2014 cycle year
- 5.3% of accepted applicants deferred a year (27,355 of 512,370)
For 2013 cycle year
- 5.2% of accepted applicants deferred a year (25,525 of 495,595)
For 2012 cycle year
- 5.2% of accepted applicants deferred a year (24,195 of 464,910)
For 2011 cycle year
- 2.7% of accepted applicants deferred a year (13,220 of 492,030)
For 2010 cycle year
- 6.0% of accepted applicants deferred a year (29,275 of 487,330)
For 2009 cycle year
- 6.2% of accepted applicants deferred a year (30,075 of 481,855)
For 2008 cycle year
- 6.6% of accepted applicants deferred a year (30,275 of 456,625)
For 2007 cycle year
- 6.9% of accepted applicants deferred a year (28,320 of 413,430)
For 2006 cycle year
- 7.2% of accepted applicants deferred a year (28,070 of 390,890)
For 2005 cycle year
- 7.7% of accepted applicants deferred a year (31,059 of 405,369)
For 2004 cycle year
- 7.5% of accepted applicants deferred a year (28,435 of 377,544)
For 2003 cycle year
- 7.6% of accepted applicants deferred a year (28,727 of 374,307)
For 2002 cycle year
- 7.9% of accepted applicants deferred a year (29,139 of 368,115)
The 'Review of Gap Year Provision' report
(29 Jul 04) was commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and was carried out by Dr Andrew Jones from Birkbeck, University of London, to provide an overview of the policy issues surrounding gap years taken by 16-25 year olds in the UK.
- A gap 'year' is defined as a period of time between 3 and 24 months which an individual takes 'out' of formal education, training or the workplace where that time sits in the context of a longer term career trajectory.
- The term 'gap year' covers a large range of activities which are best categorised around the 'break point' at which a young person undertakes one. Most young people participate in more than one kind of activity.
- Between 200,000 and 250,000 young people aged 16-25 are estimated to take a gap year of some kind each year, although this figure needs to be treated with caution. Participation is rising year-on-year.
- More and more young people from diverse backgrounds are undertaking gap years; it is becoming less the preserve of affluent middle class and private-school educated young people.
- Planned and well structured gap years are a highly beneficial experience for young people. They are often important factors in facilitating the next step in education or employment. Participants gain a wide range of life skills and other more specialised skills. These skills are often the ones employers identify as lacking in new recruits and are valued by universities. Gap year participation also benefits wider society both in terms of the activities young people undertake and the wider impact of facilitating the integration of young people into society as functioning citizens.
- Young people are motivated to take a gap year for a wide range of factors with the influence of school, universities, friends and family being important. However, the desire for a break from education, work or training is an important underlying motivation.
- There has been a considerable improvement in young people's access to information on gap year opportunities over the last decade.
- Most young people fund their gap year through a variety of sources to support them: paid work, savings and sponsorship are as, if not more, important than parental support.
- There are a very large number of gap year providing organisations based in the UK offering sufficient opportunities for current levels of demand. Most of these organisations are small, offering less than 1000 places per annum.
- The gap year providing sector already has developed some quality assurance procedures and the sector is working hard to develop better mechanisms.
- A number of gap year participant accreditation schemes exist around specific types of activity placements and the review suggests that there is further scope for accreditation scheme development in the sector. However, an overall gap year accreditation scheme would not be appropriate because of the diverse nature of activities that are undertaken.