Changes to the school leaving age - what do you think?

(74 Posts)
JaneGMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-May-13 12:46:33


We've been asked by BBC Radio 5 Live to find out what you think about the planned changes to the school leaving age.

From the start of this academic year (2013/2014), the Government is increasing the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training. From this year, they'll be required to continue in education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17, and until their 18th birthday from 2015. Further information for parents from the DofE can be found here.

Did you know that the changes were on their way?

Has there been enough done to communicate these changes to parents?

What do you think about the changes?

As always, we'd love to hear what you all think about this - so do please let us know!


Patchouli Mon 13-May-13 13:10:08

I've known these changes were coming but haven't heard anything locally about what is going to happen.
It'd be nice to hear about business who are on board with apprenticeship opportunities, or a new wide and varied college curriculum.
I was expecting (hoping) there to be a lot of opportunities opened up.

cazboldy Mon 13-May-13 13:14:49

I think it has been poorly communicated so far.

I am not against the changes as such, but feel it is only to skew government figures....... there are few jobs for young people anyway, and if they keep upping the pension age these will only decrease further.

I think a lot will depend on the kinds of courses available, and funding for any of these courses.

Reastie Mon 13-May-13 13:25:22

wow, I knew there was talk about this happening through the news and radio but I didn't realise it was going ahead, let alone so quickly.

I'm not sure what they're trying to achieve here. There has always been a problem with the govt not getting vocational courses quite right. It seems like this is another attempt to get apprentices etc back up again.

I think the govt need to make sure there are sufficient vocational routes to go post 16 and these are properly funded/those who may struggle to understand and know find what options they have accessible.

I'm just not convinced. It seems a bit jerky. Surely it might be better to make degrees not as essential for jobs which previously only required more vocational training rather than making teenagers stay in education for longer hmm

shubedoo Mon 13-May-13 13:27:57

I've keep hearing that the economy will continue to flatline for the next 5 years, so this will keep unemployment figures down. As long as whatever's taking up those two years is beneficial, it's probably a good idea.

meglet Mon 13-May-13 13:33:22

Hasn't this been planned since 2006/7? I'm sure I remember hearing about this when DS was a baby and realising he would be in education until he was 18.

shufflehopstep Mon 13-May-13 13:41:45

I agree with shubedoo, as long as it's beneficial, I can't see it as a problem. If they can concentrate on vocational qualifications and / or apprenticeships it might mean a reduction in the number of people automatically going to university "just to get a degree" which I don't think is necessarily a good idea (I say this as someone who did this herself). You generally need a degree to get most jobs these days but don't need one to actually do them. Many occupations you can easily learn "on the job" and leave university to the people who want to become surgeons and teachers and the like. It could potentially reduce the number of people sidled with £1000s of debt and could encourage more people who would just have left at 16, to stay on and potentially become surgeons and teachers. Or am I expecting too much? confused

Bramshott Mon 13-May-13 13:45:15

I think it's good idea for young people to stay in education or good quality training until 18.

However, I think it's fairly shocking that this has come in after the axeing of the EMA has made it more difficult for young people to afford transport to college unless their parents will fund them. We're in a rural area and DD's school bus is free, but once she moves to college at post 16, it's paid for, and it's NOT cheap. Fair enough if going to college is a choice, but once it's not, shouldn't there be a statutory duty on the LEA to get them there??

cazboldy Mon 13-May-13 14:06:49

completely agree Bramshott

HarlotOTara Mon 13-May-13 14:12:52

I work with this age group so am aware of the changes as are all young people and parents I come into contact with. am assuming in this case that they must have been informed somehow. I am concerned about what is available in training and education for the low achievers - E and below at GCSE - as most courses and apprenticeships require D and above in English and maths. As most of the young people I work with fall into this category it is concerning.

HarlotOTara Mon 13-May-13 14:15:22

Bramshott, ema has been replaced by bursaries provided by colleges etc. Apprenticeships are paid anyway about £100 -120 per week.

AmberLeaf Mon 13-May-13 14:15:48

Mixed feelings.

I definitely don't think it has been communicated well enough. I knew about the changes, but didn't know how and when they would affect my now yr 11 son.

I think the apprenticeship provision is a bit meh. My son was looking at some and there just aren't enough places by far.

I think given that it is compulsory, there should be much more support/advice available in schools and there just isn't.

I don't think Ive had any letter/feedback from my sons school about this at all, his school don't have a sixth form so maybe they think it isn't their problem?

Of course it is right that 15/16 yr olds should take the initiative and sort out their college/whatever placements, but even that is a bit of a mess too, my son has a confirmed place at college, but is still waiting to hear back from another [the place he really want typically!] so he has that to chase up....all at the same time as being in school from 8am-5-6pm preparing for GCSE exams-which start this week.

I do think it is a good thing generally though, but Im sure there will be some young people who it won't suit.

Hopefully by the time my 13 yr old reaches this stage there will be a bit more organisation? maybe?

I thought this procedure was already in place as when my daughter started senior school (now year 8) they said that they are expected to stay in some form of education or training scheme until they were 17.
Tbh she will anyway so it doesn't bother me one way or another.

I also agree with Bramshot, it will be the parents funding trips to and from college/school, with money already being tight, can parents keep their children financially supported until 18?

AmberLeaf Mon 13-May-13 14:17:53

I am concerned about what is available in training and education for the low achievers - E and below at GCSE - as most courses and apprenticeships require D and above in English and maths

Yes I agree with that, when we were looking at apprenticeships, they wanted at least D upwards for even the most basic things.

I think there are going to be some young people that get left behind.

daisydoodoo Mon 13-May-13 14:22:12

In principle its a good thing. DS1 is one of those affected for this year and has applied for 2 college courses for September (undecided as to which one he really wants to do). It has meant for us that a child capable of acheiving good results and who further education would be of benefit to, ut would not have chosen to stay on in education, is staying at college and hopefully improving his chances of a good career.

However the problems so far are that it wasn't widely publicised, there has been talk of it for many years but it was only made clear that ds1 would be affected within this academic year.

Also it has huge financial implications for families on low income, who may need the extra income that rent/keep from an older working child would provide. Not everyone receives tax credits, which would help with the financial costs involved. DS1 school is a 15minute walk away, college is an hours bus journey at cost to us.

You also have the issue of children who just don't want to be in education, or won;t see any real benefit of being in further education. Not everyone can be in hihgly paid, highly skilled work, the country needs unskilled workers. To be blunt why go to college for a levels if the goal is to work in topshop? (nothing wrong with shop work, so please don't take offence)

Floggingmolly Mon 13-May-13 14:29:28

Bramshott. You'd be less than happy for your child to continue at school past 16 if you had to fund his bus fares? Seriously? shock
Of all things to focus on...

Bramshott Mon 13-May-13 14:31:08

Hi Caz! [waves]

Harlot - my understanding was that the new bursaries were not nearly so widely available as the EMA had been?

However, my main point was a wider one - how can the govt justify only providing school transport to 16 if the statutory school leaving age is now going to be 18?

nancerama Mon 13-May-13 14:31:13

Great that apprenticeships could be seen as a valid alternative to academic subjects. Teenagers who don't want to stay in the classroom need to feel valued and given opportunities to do something practical.

More needs to be done to keep the apprentices in work after their courses have ended. BIL completed his apprenticeship last year and was turfed out along with the rest of his cohort to make way for a fresh batch of apprentices.

Badvoc Mon 13-May-13 14:33:23

Had NO idea about this!
Ds2 starts school in sept so this will affect him.

daisydoodoo Mon 13-May-13 14:33:42

I'm sure it was probably ds's school, but communication of this was in the form of a leaflet left on tables at a parents evening for yr11 students. No signage to suggest that all parents should take one and read, I only picked one up as I was being nosey.

FM- I'm not sure why that would be such surprise for you? For some families the extra £30 a month (maybe even more) could really push them financially. We are lucky that it is affordable but i do know of a couple of people in a fairly affluent area that this will be a struggle for them to afford.

HarlotOTara Mon 13-May-13 14:36:17

Bramshott, where I live you need an income of less than £26,000 or be claiming some sort of benefits to receive a bursary so I think that covers those who were entitled to ema. In my experience ema was very open to abuse ie. claiming when not entitled. Most yo I work with are entitled to bursaries and I make sure they apply.

HarlotOTara Mon 13-May-13 14:38:05

My concern is that a lot that is on offer with regard to apprenticeships and courses for low achievers isn't worth the paper it is printed on - so to speak

hellsbells99 Mon 13-May-13 15:31:20

It is not a change to the school leaving age! It is a change to when a child can leave some form of education. Our school has communicated to us ok. There is no responsibility for the school to keep them past 16 ....and this is when it starts to become a problem. My DD is staying on in the 6th form (assuming she gets the grades) so we are sorted - but she had to apply to stay on and be offered a place. What about the DCs who are not in this position? They have to apply to colleges or for apprenticeships. What happens if they do not get offered a place? It is a bit difficult that the government can force this change but no one needs give a 16 year old a place to comply with this legislation.

cazboldy Mon 13-May-13 15:48:25

Hi Bramshott smile

Good point hellsbells

what happens if they just don't do anything?

If they don't apply to a college, or a training course....... I guess their parents will lose C benefit, and tax credits, but does anything else happen?

Lilka Mon 13-May-13 15:49:39

I can't see how this is workable, to be honest

As hellsbells said how can students with very low marks carry on in eduaction past 16 anyway? They won't be accepted on to courses, schools won't keep them on, no apprenticeships. As far as I can see their only option is to retake their GCSE years again at a college that will take a 16 year old for GCSE's.

If nowhere has a legal obligation to take them, some students will wind up with nowhere and then whatever the law says, their education will be over at 16 unless some time in the future they pick up studying again.

Yes, the government are placing a duty on the LA to help the 16 year old find a place, but can the LA force somewhere to take them? If the LA cannot force somewhere to take these children, then the new law is in part pretty useless. Not like the powers the LA have for school places.

My eldest daughter left school at 16 and got a full time low wage job. It was a better option for her than staying in education as she was/is not at all academic - only a couple of GCSE's were passed and by passed I don't mean A*-B's. My second aged 17 is in college doing a vocational course and only just met minimum requirements. If she hadn't met them, she would be in a worse place than her sister, because jobs are scarce and she has more serious mental health and other health problems that make jobs difficult for her.

A full move to education till 18 can't happen until we have enough college/course/apprenticeship places for everyone, even if they have attained no qualifications (so probably a place at college/school to retake GCSE's), AND it is mandatory for all 16-18 to have been given a place in education by a post-16 provider.

piprabbit Mon 13-May-13 15:53:12

It should be a Good Thing. But if the lack of information so far is anything to go by, it will be inadequately planned, under-resourced and poorly executed. It will not improve the options for the less academic child, but it will keep them out of the unemployment figures.

sad I'm not usually this cynical, but can't help feeling underwhelmed by the implementation of this proposal.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 13-May-13 15:54:24

Fun fun fun - where I come from originally (remote, isolated etc) most kids follow mum/dad's footsteps - farming, fishing, building, shop work, tourist related work etc - learning in the family business from about age 14 - and they want to be out and earning money ASAP not arseing about in school for even longer.

Some do apprenticeships - garage work/electrician etc, but most just get on with it and earn towards the family pot...... Only the few who go off to Uni stay on...

I hate the one-size-fits-all "solutions" government...

HarlotOTara Mon 13-May-13 16:06:38

I looked up the government info about the changes last year. The original info - was it part of an Act? - stated that continuing education or work based training was mandatory but the responsibility of the young person and not the parents. The last government was going to implement fines (similar to school absence fines) which the young person would be expected to pay if they didn't engage. Of course that is madness and unworkable so has now not been implemented.
I agree in some places, families the plans are unworkable and am not sure how it will be followed up.
Where I live the council has declared there will be no Neets (Not In Education, Employment or Training) by 2014. Impossible of course.

I work with disengaged young people and it is impossible to get some to engage in anything so not sure what will happen. However, they all know what they are meant to be doing as do their parents. Having said that my dd is year 11 and no one has given me info about this but I knew anyway.

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Mon 13-May-13 17:30:47

One of my concerns is regarding statemented children and those with health issues.

Who is responsible for providing these children with the support and education they need?

For example a child who cannot access regular education due to ill health is currently entitled to a certain number of hours home tuition provided by the LA. Is the LA going to continue to provide this? The young person is patently not going to be well enough to do an apprenticeship. How will 6th form colleges handle this situation and will they receive funding for continued education for statemented children?

Startail Mon 13-May-13 18:04:53

I agree with everything said above.

there are lots of fine sentiments, but no planning and no money to make them happen.

I live in a rural area with big secondary catchments and huge sixth form and collage ones. Transport, both lack of availability and cost is a really serious issue. Some DCs who attend the DDs school from out of catchment already shell out almost £1000 a year.

I can see lower achieving DCs being asked to travel 15-25 miles to the only towns with large collages. Buses to these exist. Buses to many of the smaller towns the might have apprenterships, either don't or like our local one run on Tuesdays and Thursdays only!!

With parents on low income and no post 16 grants it isn't going to happen. Dear lad next door can't find the fare to get to said town to see the dole office. Heaven knows what DCs who aren't eligible for benefits are supposed to do.

Not all DCs have supportive parents. Even those who do can't necessarily afford the time or the money to keep supporting 16+ DCs. They need to keep their own jobs, they cannot be expected to run DCs to obscure places, it simply doesn't work.

LadyLech Mon 13-May-13 18:05:52

I teach in the FE sector, and I would say that the whole thing seems to be a complete shambles. I think its fine for those who have the children who will get Ds+ in their exams (Cs+ to do A levels, Ds+ needed to redo GCSEs and progress onto A levels) but what about those who get Fs, Gs, and Us in their GCSEs? What has been put in place for them?
Most post 16 courses are very dependent on students achieving the necessary grades at GCSE. Even if they want to repeat their GCSEs, there are often minimum requirements to be met. Most schools do not offer these sorts of programmes (level 1 and level 2 qualifications) and so for many students, it may well mean having to go to the local college.

And as Bramshot pointed out, for low income families there are often big financial implications for students who have to travel for up to (and sometimes more than) an hour to get to college. Then, there's the books and resources. Unlike schools, colleges are on a much tighter budget and so students are expected to buy their own books, paper etc. In my experience / opinion the new bursary system does not cover everything and I do see students who are really struggling to cope. I know of some who work full time and fit their studies in around the sides, because they have to help out with the rent, have to pay bus fares and so on... Bursaries are such an individual thing, the rules vary so much that you cannot ensure every student who needs it, gets it. I see lots of students who struggle.

But the biggest problem I see, is just how are they going to enforce this? If a student can't get a place at school or college and can't get an apprenticeship - what has been put in place to help these students find courses, training etc? I'm not aware of any great new scheme designed to help these students - yet they're the ones who make up our NEETS. It seems to me, to be another ill thought through problem, whereby the bright middle class kids are okay, but it is the low achieving poorer kids who are let down yet again.

Goldmandra Mon 13-May-13 18:24:43

My DD1 is in Y11 but nobody has told us that she has to stay on in education. It isn't a problem for us as she would have attended sixth form anyway but I wonder if anyone is keeping track.

Transport is an issue for us and we are waiting to hear how much it will cost us.

iliketea Mon 13-May-13 19:04:47

Like others have said, it's a good thing in theory, but only if there are enough places for all AND high quality, useful vocational education is provided for those who want it or aren't academically able to study a-levels.

A college near me is pretty good, has a beauty salon, travel agent and restaurant run by students, teaching those who want to go into those careers / don't want to go onto university useful skills for employment.

I also wonder how it will be enforced? If a 16 year doesn't want to be in education, then I'm not sure how their parents or the government can force them to do so. Also, the financial implications to families re: transport costs in particular need to be considered.

CheeryCherry Mon 13-May-13 19:14:17

I remember the issue being discussed several years ago, so was vaguely aware it would affect my DCs. My DS is in year 11 and has been fully informed by school of all his options, though as parents we have had no communications as such. There is an excellent 6th form so it was always on the cards he would stay on to do A levels. I do think it is a good idea to stay in some form of education but there is a definite need for a variety of good apprenticeships that will hopefully suit most pupils. Not all children are academic, and we do need qualified vocational workers too...if the opportunities are there. We've always had to pay for bus fares, but I can see that being an issue for some.

creamteas Mon 13-May-13 19:56:29

As far as I can see, the only people that will gain from this is the private companies who offer warehousing training places. These are currently targeted at NEETS and they are often poor quality with little hope of entry into FE or work afterwards.

It is also (at least is near me) highly gendered. The girls get hairdressing of beauty and the boys mechanics or building skills.

I think the LEA has a duty to monitor, but given the range of possible providers, not sure how this will work. I have not heard about whether or not parents will be prosecuted if their teenager doesn't attend, and that would be interesting to know.

Whatalotofpiffle Mon 13-May-13 20:09:03

Had no idea but think it is great

Wishiwasanheiress Mon 13-May-13 20:17:45

Hmm, I am more keen to see apprenticeships etc come back. Then raising age is possibly appropriate. If its just a gambit for dumbing down university more then absolutely not.

Both options are excellent. But government has ruined apprenticeships AND Uni options. That's just beyond stupid.

AmberLeaf Mon 13-May-13 20:31:51

Have just spoken to my 16 yr old yr 11 son, he said that his school told him that the current yr 10s will be the first group affected by the changes.

So if the school don't even know the correct info it is no wonder us parents haven't been told anything.

What a shambles!

Springforward Mon 13-May-13 21:49:57

I think this is a good thing in principle, as long as the education or training is of a good enough quality to help them into HE/ FE/ work afterwards and not just somewhere to park young people until they're old enough to be officially unemployed in government statistics.

supergreenuk Mon 13-May-13 22:14:39

How on earth will schools cater for 2 extra years of pupils. Will the government be spending money on employing teachers and building school extensions?

creamteas Mon 13-May-13 22:22:36

Super they don't (and probably won't) have to stay in school. They have to be education or training.

Only a very small number of 16-17 year olds are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET). It just makes the NEETS into truants.

Limelight Mon 13-May-13 22:31:34

I think the important thing here is that it's about raising the 'participation' age not the 'school leaving' age. It's an important distinction isn't it and I would expect a national media outlet to get that right.

Ultimately I think it's a good idea. I haven't read all of the guidance and note some concerns above about kids with SEN etc. I'd want to read more to see what's been put in place.

Fundamentally I think it's right that our young people should be provided with development opportunities for as long as possible to be honest. I think that the motivation behind this policy is probably right.

This was passed under the last government I seem to remember so it's not like we didn't all know it was coming?

Sorry to be vague. I haven't read enough but did want to say something!

BackforGood Mon 13-May-13 23:06:04

I too wonder how exactly they are going to make this happen. If a "child" of 17 doesn't want to go to school, then how exactly are they going to get them out of bed? If they have to leave the school because they are not attending, then who the heck is going to employ them ?
I've been aware of the fact they are supposed to stay on, for years (it's not a new rule, just a phased in one), but there hasn't been a massive increase in provision for those who don't want to do A-levels

1944girl Tue 14-May-13 00:42:11

I think it is a way for the government to bring unemployment figures down.

Where I live there is a high number of teenage pregnancies, these girls will be going to school and putting their children in nurseries, and who is going to pay for that?

TheFallenNinja Tue 14-May-13 09:09:12

At the moment there are kids after 11 years in education leave with nothing. What difference will these proposed changes make to that?

It will be opposed by rural parents because of bus fare.

It will turn into two years of bolt on schemes with no particular purpose.

If they're going to remain in education then it should be mainstream with a proper continuing syllabus, options should be delayed and base subjects taught to a more advanced level.

Fascinate Tue 14-May-13 10:17:13

Well I had no idea about this at all. DD is not affected, she's 16 and in Y12 with plans to go to uni, but DS is 14 and in Y9 - no-one's mentioned anything about it. He's planning on going on to A'Levels tho, so actually it will make no difference to us, but still.... :P

Naebother Tue 14-May-13 10:59:56

Another ill thought out idea. Why make it compulsory?

I feel pity for teachers who will be stuck with demotivated students and those same students stuck in the system.

gazzalw Tue 14-May-13 11:25:33

I knew there was such a proposal in the pipeline but not aware that it was going to be legalised quite so soon. I wonder how many secondary school pupils who will 'benefit' from this are aware of it?

It shouldn't impact adversely on our family as I'm assuming that both DCs will stay on for A Levels anyway but it's rather harsh to make it compulsory - surely it's all about manipulating unemployment figures in the short-term rather than any real mission to make secondary school pupils more 'qualified'?

I do hope that for those who wouldn't otherwise have stayed in education (and indeed those who would anyway), extended schooling will include useful life-skills such as money management etc....

MoodyDidIt Tue 14-May-13 12:30:24

i think its mad

16 YO's are allowed to leave home, have sex, get married ffs

i cant help thinking its to do with improving unemployment figures as well

Limelight Tue 14-May-13 13:21:52

I don't see that it can be about manipulating the figures to make the current youth unemployment crisis look better. This was a policy of the last government and was agreed then I think.

To be honest, I don't see the problem. It doesn't stop 17/18 year olds from leaving school and getting a job if they want - all it's saying is that there should be a training element which leads to an accredited qualification. It's day release basically which loads of 16/17 year olds have been accessing and benefitting from for years.

Given that there is an unemployment problem at the moment which is particularly effecting young people, isn't it a good thing that they will be able to access some sort of training/development for as long as possible?

What I don't know much about is what extra infrastructure has been put in place to provide opps. But in principle I do think this makes sense.

bigbluebus Tue 14-May-13 13:50:32

I knew about this proposal when it was announced years ago as DS is in current Yr 11, so the 1st year to be affected.
He has always intended to do A levels, so didn't make a difference to him, but I was wondering what the knock on effect would be on his school 6th form - but having attended all the 'moving-up' events, it appears that it will make no difference whatsoever. There are no new courses on offer and the criteria for 6th form entry remains the same (5 GCSE's A*-C including Maths and English). He attends a large, non-selective comprehensive school covering a vast rural area, where 70% of children are bussed in by the LA.

As a rural area and the nearest FE colleges are at least 14 miles away and not on a direct bus route. I know of 2 of DSs peer group who have secured apprenticeships, but I should imagine that these are few and far between in an area like this.

DS has had free transport up to now, but I suspect we will have to pay for him from Sept, which is an expense we don't need, but will have to manage. Only families on an extremely low income qualify for the Bursary - and then only at the disgression of the school/college.

I have seen no mention of what happens if a child is left without a place anywhere. I assume Connexions/Youth Service will pick this up, although they have already had there service vastly reduced over the years, so not sure they have the capacity. Parents will lose Child Benefit (& CTC ?)if their child is no longer in education and the young person will presumably not be able to claim any benefits in their own right. So those who have failed to achieve academically at school and who come from low income families are likely to be hit hard yet again, if their child can't get on to any scheme at all.

Isabeller Tue 14-May-13 15:13:31

First I've heard of it and not at all impressed with the idea at first sight

Suffolkgirl1 Tue 14-May-13 16:11:45

Does anyone know what happens to children at the other end of the scale? - I know of several children who are currently being educated in a year group ahead of their own. They will consequently finish sixth form and take their A levels before they are 18. University is not listed as one of the education options for 16 - 18 year olds and many uni courses will not accept under 18's anyway (in the past these children would have been advised to take a gap year).

HSMMaCM Tue 14-May-13 18:02:38

I knew it was happening.

If there are lots of apprenticeship type training schemes being offered, then that's a good thing. If 6th form colleges are going to be full of people who don't want to be there (ruining it for those who do), then that's a bad thing.

HSMMaCM Tue 14-May-13 18:03:51

And ... if they have to stay on until they're 18, does that mean my Summer born DD will have to sit around at school until her birthday, after her exams?

creamteas Tue 14-May-13 18:10:07

HSM I don't think summer-born DC will have to go back into school after exams.

But as you can leave on your 18th birthday, August-born will have to stay a year longer than Sept DC.

iclaudius Tue 14-May-13 18:21:14

I do not agree
I think it forces difficult teens to stay at home ...

Bonsoir Tue 14-May-13 20:14:33

I knew it was going to happen soon but didn't know when precisely.

Probably a good idea, but will sixth form cater adequately for less academic DC?

Corygal Tue 14-May-13 20:22:16

Great - but a shame it will now apparently take 14 years of school in the UK to send out kids who can read and write. What are the other plans to bring British schools up to conventional international standards?

Limelight Tue 14-May-13 20:24:44

Less academic kids won't be at sixth form if they don't want to be.

beatback Tue 14-May-13 20:48:15

It is very wrong and silly to force kids to stay in Education to 18. Some of these kids have been marginalised in education since they were 14, there could be employment based education,available to those that wanted it.I cant help thinking it is just away to hide unemployment figures, and not have to pay Unemployment Benefits. I do think though that kids, should not be allowed to leave education until they at least basic literacy levels in english and maths, but forcing some kids to stay to 18 is just going to cause resentment, and a could not care attitude to the education they are forced to have.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Tue 14-May-13 21:06:41

I'd really like to know how it is going to be monitored. What will happen to NEETs? Who will insist they attend somewhere, and what will happen if they don't?

deleted203 Tue 14-May-13 21:17:48

I think it's dreadful, personally, for many of the reasons that others have listed.

I work with many, many pupils who are low achieving academically, hate school, struggle greatly and from about 14 are just desperate to leave and get out. The idea of another 4 years will be greeted with massive rebellion - and how do you force a 17 yo to remain in some form of education? They can get married at that age!

Rural area/seaside, no industry. From about 14 many of my kids are working - either in farming or in holiday jobs. School is seen by many as a waste of time as they know they are not going to get 5 'C' grades and go onto anything other than minimum wage, unskilled jobs in many cases.

Many young mums - what do you do with someone who has had 2 children by the age of 17? They don't want to leave their children/bf to keep going to school/college. What is the point of this when the minute they finish they will stay home on benefits with the kids?

Who is going to offer apprenticeships/college course to a 16 yo who is greatly struggling with literacy/basic maths and who is surly and disaffected?

I agree it is more likely to be a way of massaging unemployment figures rather than a useful exercise.

beatback Tue 14-May-13 21:18:27


cazboldy Tue 14-May-13 21:37:35

that is a good point sowornout and Moodydidit

I had ds 1 in the first term of Y11, when I was 15.

I was one of 3 girls that got pregnant while I was at school. I was the only one that returned to do my GCSE's, and that was only because I had the support of my parents who looked after ds for me in the day.

I got married at 16, and moved into our own home with dh.......

I probably could have still gone to school/college/ whatever. I was offered a place at the local 6th form, but ds was just starting to stand/walk. Dh could support us financially, so I was a sahm.

cazboldy Tue 14-May-13 21:38:59

managed to delete a sentence somehow....

was supposed to say ds was starting to stand/walk and I didn't want to miss his milestones, and I wanted to look after him myself.

deleted203 Tue 14-May-13 23:49:46

Exactly, cazboldy. I have taught many girls who have either got pregnant whilst still at school, or very shortly afterwards. I don't know about other areas of UK, but in this area it is certainly common for a fairly large percentage of the population to be parents by 16/17.

I get girls coming up to me in the local Lidl saying, 'Hi miss,' and proudly showing me their new babies/toddlers. They love being 'Mum' and have a good support network, generally, of friends who are all in the same situation. None of them have shown any interest in leaving their babies to go back to college - 'Nah - I hated school' is the usual answer if you ask. It's not uncommon to meet a girl of 20 with 4 pre-schoolers. They do not want to leave their children - they are happy being at home, gossiping with their mates, drinking coffee, playing on their phones, whilst all the babies/toddlers play together.

This is not meant as a criticism of them. This is what they wanted out of life - most of the babies were/are happily planned. Occasionally I'm told they 'might get a part time job once the kids are at school' - and lots pick up 16 hrs a week as a care assistant in one of the nursing homes or on a supermarket checkout once their DCs are older. This suits them fine.

Whilst not necessarily condoning their choices I can understand it. Other people might think that forcing them into education/training til 18 will give them other choices, but the reality is that it probably won't. Many of them were serial truants, seriously disaffected by 13/14, struggling with family issues and poor attendance records. What is the govt expecting to achieve for pupils such as this between 16 - 18? If they want to tackle these kinds of issues then they need to start much earlier.

To be frank, in this area, even a good level of education is not going to guarantee you any kind of job. Unemployment is high, even for skilled and professional workers. Whilst practical apprenticeships sound a good idea I know time served workers in their 30s and 40s, skilled men who are builders, plumbers, plasterers, etc who cannot find enough work to support them.

notquiteruralbliss Fri 17-May-13 16:45:16

Not all 16yos want to be in school / college or on an apprenticeship scheme. My 16yo hated school / college and now works full time & is very happy doing so. She's developing useful transferrable skils as well as the industry specific skills she needs to progress in her chosen career but isn't on an official apprenticeship scheme. She did start off on an official scheme but left as it seemed simply to be a way of paying her less than the NMW.

Mirage Fri 17-May-13 18:38:12

I'm not happy about it.I had heard that the school leaving age was changing and both my dds will be affected.Both of them currently want to work on the family farm when they leave school,but won't be able to leave at 16 to do so under these rules.I suppose the only way around it is to sign them up to some sort of part time college course and let them work around it.

lljkk Fri 17-May-13 19:35:57

I think it's a terrible idea. The advantage of the old/current system is that it incentivised teens right at their lowest point, when they most want to leave, to stick it out & get some qualification to your name before entering world of work. Else get out & get some real world experience, but please don't waste any more time in a classroom where you can't make yourself engage.

Now the system well be "oh well, drag it out a bit, you'll never escape."
I feel the late finishing age is a factor in the high rate of drop outs from American high schools, very much an all or nothing system.

A supportive system that let someone age 18 go back to 6th form college (is this easily possible?) would be better.

Biggest problem is space ds2 year have stay to 17 is y11 now there is just over 300 in his year and 85 spaces for A levels this septembr pretty much same the other 3 senior schools ds2 lucky subject grades has a place

No collage in town where are they meant to go oh and bursary may cover bus fares low income family's but then add cost of meals /equipment etc

Or they saying they now going extend fsm?

The next town 12 miles over has collage but there's Aldo a lot of dc in that town already yet they the collage for all surrounding towns and villages here

ProudAS Sun 19-May-13 21:17:53

Mirage - your DDs will be able to work on the family farm after finishing year 11 and combine it with studying for a relevant qualification such as agriculture, animal care or running a business.

Catapult - local authorities have a statutory duty to secure sufficient training places. I'm not too sure about the funding side of things if families are on low incomes but it is acceptable for the young person to be in work based training or to study part time alongside working 20+ hours per week.

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