Raising the education leaving age in England and Wales to 18 has been in the news a lot following the Queen’s Speech. The bill, which applies to England and Wales, is designed “to ensure that young people stay in education or training until age 18 and to provide new rights to skills training for adults. Raising participation will ensure that all young people – especially the most vulnerable – will benefit from the opportunities provided by continuing in learning.”

It means that by 2013, all pupils will have to stay in education or training until the end of the school year in which they turn 17. By 2015, this leaving age will be raised to the 18th birthday.

The bill includes a duty on young people to comply with this regulation – and also a duty on their parents “to assist their children to participate”. This raises the prospect that parents as well as children will face legal responsibilities to ensure attendance until the age of 18.

But the Department for Children, Schools and Families says that this will not mean parents facing truancy-type fines. Instead, if they deliberately obstruct their children’s attendance they could face parenting orders.

Pupils who fail to comply are expected to face fines or community service, rather than prison. There will also be a duty placed on local authorities to ensure that young people participate up to the age of 18.

Certainly looks interesting. I think it isn’t a bad thing to keep young people in school longer to provide more training and education. For more the issue is the process – it is important that the concept of apprenticeships, of training on the job, of training that is based on life skills as well as academic skills are all developed, not just on a government paper, but in practice, in our local areas. I await to see what difference will it mean in Brentwood, how will it affect the young people from the estates who drop out of school for a variety of reasons. What difference will it make in their life?
Married to the amazing Sarah and raising Jakey, Daniel, Amelia, Josh & Jonah in our blended family. Passionate for Jesus, social work & sport.

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