Can a young person leave school at 16?

From 2013, there will be a change to the age that young people can leave education or training.

What is the raising of the participation age?

It is the Government’s policy that by 2013, all young people will be expected to stay in some form of learning until the end of the academic year they are 17. This will increase to age 18 by 2015.

This means that those young people who are due to complete Year 11 in 2013 will be the first to benefit from these changes. They will be expected to remain in learning for another year, while those finishing Year 11 from 2014 onwards will be expected to remain in learning until they are 18.

Why is the government introducing these changes?

The economy and the world of employment are changing. In the future more jobs, within the UK economy, will require a higher level of skills, training and qualifications.

The changes will help to prepare young people for successful careers and equip the UK workforce for the demands of the 21st Century as with an increasingly competitive job market, more and more jobs require higher level of skills, training and qualifications. Staying on in learning will improve young people’s chances of having a better future and lifestyle.

For example, young people who gain a Level 2 qualification and above — equivalent to five or more GCSEs grades A* to C — can earn on average around £100,000 more over their lifetime than someone who leaves learning with fewer qualifications. Having more qualifications also helps to reduce the risk of having long periods of unemployment.

Does this mean your son or daughter has to stay on at school until the age of 18?

No – it’s not just about staying at school.

There will be more opportunities for young people than ever before and whilst staying on at school until they’re 18 will remain an option, there will be lots of other learning opportunities available through colleges, training providers and employers.

What does this mean if your son or daughter is in Year 9 or below?

It means they should start planning ahead now as they will be involved in learning until they are 17 or 18. They need to start looking at the whole range of options available to them

You can help by preparing them for the changes, talking to them about the benefits of staying in learning after they are 16, and making sure they are getting good advice about their options.

Don’t forget that the majority of young people, around 80%, choose to stay on in learning until they are 18. This is because they understand the importance of gaining further education and qualifications.

If you need more help or advice with RPA speak to either Mr Wilkinson or Mr Denison.

Useful resource:

National Careers Service