HUNDREDS of Southampton students were not in stable work or education last year within 12 months of leaving school, new figures reveal.

The Association of School and College Leaders says it is a "huge concern” that teenagers across England are drifting into insecurity after 14 years of school education.

Department for Education statistics show that 14 per cent of the 1,995 students who finished their 16 to 18 study in 2016-17 were not in education, employment or an apprenticeship within a year .

A further six per cent had no activity recorded.

The figures cover pupils from state-funded mainstream schools and colleges, and only those in continuous study, work or training for at least six months were included in one of the categories.

Continued education was the most popular choice for school leavers in the area, with 37 per cent of students going to university, further education college, or courses elsewhere.

Work was next most common – 34 per cent went into employment.

And 10 per cent were in an apprenticeship for at least half of 2017-18.

The rate of students in Southampton who were not in education, employment or training within a year of finishing school was slightly above that across England, where the figure stood at 13 per cent.

And 47 per cent went into education, 25 per cent started a job, and 10 per cent undertook an apprenticeship.

The activity of six per cent of students was not captured in the data.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "It is of huge concern that one in eight 18 year olds appear to drift into a netherworld of insecurity and aimlessness after 14 years of education.

"There will be many differing situations behind the statistics, but there is no disguising the fact that too many young people are slipping through the cracks."