This year the school leaving age goes up to 17 and in 2015, it goes up to 18. I would hope that both of my children would go into the sixth form regardless of this, but I still think the change in the law will have an impact on them. I've trawled around the net looking for posts on the subject, but nobody seems to be talking about it, not the government, not parents, not even the kids themselves.
My concerns are listed below. Does anyone have any thoughts / does anyone have any information?!
1. About 75% of 16 year olds stay on into some sort of secondary education / training. The change in the law will effectively add a third onto the numbers staying on. How are schools going to cope with this in terms of space and number of staff? 2. Is the admissions process for 6 forms going to change? At the moment it is selective or at least mainly so as far as I can see. Where will the 16 year olds who don't get selected go? Is 6th form entry going to become more competitive? Are we going to see the creation of schools with massive problems because they end up with a large proportion of the young people who can't get in elsewhere? Or are schools going to be forced to abandon any form of selectivity? 3. If 16 - 18 year olds have to attend school by law, shouldn't they get free transport to get them there and back? 4. What happens to child benefit / child tax credits? 5. Are 16 year olds going to be forced to do courses which are really not appropriate for them?
The list goes on and on .... In my mind this is probably a positive change, but it seems very strange that it isn't sparking any kind of public debate and that no-one is taking about how it will work logistically.
DS is in Yr 11 (so the 1st group to be affected by this change). His school has a 6th form. I have been to a meeting at school about 'next steps'. There was no mention of these changes., and as far as I am aware, the school is not offering any different subjects next year in the 6th form, so there are no new vocational courses to cater for anyone who may be staying on, who previously might not have done. (The school does run a few vocational courses at present, but is mainly A levels). In the large town nearby, the schools have no 6th forms and I haven't heard of any plans to create any - the children will just continue on to separate 6th form college or College of Arts & Technology. As far as I am aware, Connexions will be responsible for working with anyone who is not intending to stay on in Education.
OK this is all about the 'learning age' not the 'leaving age'. Currently students remain in compulsory education until the last Friday in June each year of the academic year of their 16th birthday. This will change and students will have to remain in some form of education until the academic year in which they turn 18. This form of education can be 6th form, college, apprenticeship or a job with accrediated training. The qualifications should be those only listed under section 96 (I think), which predominantly are longer qualifications rather than short courses. However saying that, the Foundation Learning programmes will still be included.
Someone asked about the tracking of students - currently the LA's have a responsibility to track all students within their borough. In practice, a lot of them contract this out to the local Careers / Connexions / Young Peoples service. They in turn get information from the local college's and 6th forms. They have a database of all students within their borough and basically will match them on the lists which they get. They then contact those which haven't shown up on the enrolments of the colleges and 6th forms.
number of spaces / apprenticeships - the LA's have responsibility to work with local training providers and colleges to ensure that they are offering an appropriate number of places. This should be done with taking into account the local labour market information. Traditionally this has been based on the intended destinations of students gathered by the careers companies in each area. How this will get done now with the careers companies being disestablished in many areas, is unclear.
In practice - the LA's are already looking at this, def in my area and are planning towards it. I suppose this will depend on how pro-active each area is though.
You will probably see very little difference to what happens now apart from the fact that there will be no 16-18 unemployed young people in this country - yeah right!!
DD is in year 11 at a mixed 11-18 comp. We went to the 6th form Open Evenings at her school in the autumn and looked at a couple of other schools as well. From what I remember, they said that 90% of 17 year olds are already in some form of education/ training. The schools also offer non-A level 6th form courses such as GCSE resits, BTECs, 2-year AS levels. Apparently, it is the 'child's' responsibility to find education, so schools can still exclude pupils. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the options available as DD is planning on doing A-levels, but I was reassured that her lessons wont be full of disruptive students who don't want to be there. HTH
I come from a system where we have compulsory education until 18 and the drop out rate is high (at least 25%). We don't even have vocational courses or apprenticeships instead of formal classrooms, either.
We just have huge truancy & drop out rates.
I have cousins & friends who failed to complete their Leaving certificates at right age, they had to go back to night school later.
Formally raising the leaving age will improve nothing, just create different problems.