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Should the school-leaving age be lowered to 14?

(38 Posts)
Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 08:58:52

This was on BBC Breakfast news.

Is it just another way for the government to save money, or would it really be good for some of our kids to send them out to work aged 14?

nagynolonger Fri 29-Jul-11 09:07:48

Well the leaving age is going up to 17 (with DC going into year 10) and then 18.

They have to do something with those that school has failed. If it is done properly and the youngsters are not exploited working at 14 might be right for some.

ZZZenAgain Fri 29-Jul-11 09:08:50

out to work just like that, no. In some kind of apprentice-work scheme possibly.

jgbmum Fri 29-Jul-11 09:15:14

I can see that it would suit some teenagers, esp those disaffected by school. But I think there would need to be safeguards built in so that they could return to education at a later stage for free if they wanted.
A colleague I work with, left school at 16 and got a job locally - hard, manual work, - and in his early 20s realised that if he wanted to get on then he needed to return to college and get his A levels. It cost him a lot to do this, as well as holding down his full time job, but he persevered and went on to Uni and now has a great job as a professional IT engineer.
He admits that at 14 he wanted to leave school and made his teachers, and students, lives a misery.

PonceyMcPonce Fri 29-Jul-11 09:17:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cricketballs Fri 29-Jul-11 09:18:00

as the head teacher stated; the theory behind the suggestion is already in place (although not paid employment).

A small number of students are placed in college/work experience for a couple of days per week as it is clear that 'normal secondary school' is not the correct place for them. This is in conjunction with the school and basic numeracy and literacy skill teaching is still ongoing.

It does work with the very small number of students I have witnessed accessing this course of education as an academic environment was clearly not going to be successful, in fact, the students I have been involved in that have followed this route would have been permanently excluded within 12 months if this was not available to them

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 09:19:27

One of my concerns is that as the government is making it more difficult for young people to go to university, there are more of them needing jobs. Meanwhile youth unemployment is very high and rising, so to release a younger cohort of workers on to the jobs market right now might just be adding them to the unemployment statistics ...

At least while they are still at school, even if they don't think they are actually learning anything they do still have to get up and go somewhere during the day. Plus, you never know, they might end up learning something useful at school.

I think the apprentice schemes are good, though.

EdithWeston Fri 29-Jul-11 09:19:38


The policy (set in 2007) had been to raise the school leaving age to 18 by 2013. Has this definitely been abandoned? (I don't remember seeing much about it recently, except in terms of incompatibility with abolition of EMA).

If thet are bringing this forward, it's a recycled policy from 2002.

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 09:22:19

Cricketballs, that sounds like a great initiative. I hope it is expanded to include more young people.

cricketballs Fri 29-Jul-11 09:23:49

the policy set out that young people had to be in either; full time education, training or employment and it was misrepresented as school leaving age. Therefore no benefits will be paid out for anyone under the age of 18

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 09:25:19

Edith, I don't know - I was still squinting at the world through one eye when I saw it on TV. But I think it's just an idea that has been mooted by one Lord Ogden something or other. Sorry - will make further enquiries. Did anyone else see it?

cricketballs Fri 29-Jul-11 09:25:49

the problem is though mellow is that the original school has to pay for the student to access the schemes which is far more than keeping the child in school therefore not many students benefit

Hulababy Fri 29-Jul-11 09:28:40

No, I don't think children should leave school and education at 14y.

But I do think we need to make some changes. There are many children out there who don't suit the current education system which is hell bent on getting all children through academic qualifications and as many as possible to university to run up huge debts on degrees they won't use or need.

There needs to be a vocational approach too, but not the current system of GNVQs, etc. More like apprenticeship schemes but with an education running aolongside in basic skills such as literacy, numeracy, ICT, lifeskills, etc.

I don't think 14y are really ready to go out to work and they still need a lot of giding and tutoring through decisions and choices .

But we do need to recognise that academia is not for everyone and that doesn't matter and that non academia options are just as valid as going to sixth form and university.

cricketballs Fri 29-Jul-11 09:29:35

about your point of making it more difficult for young people to access university I am leaning towards the opinion that a degree is being devalued at the moment due to the high number of people attending university (a lot of whom are studying 'easier' subjects) and so if less people do gain a degree then its worth is increased again. (this should just be due to academic ability rather than any other issues)

cricketballs Fri 29-Jul-11 09:31:08

hulababy; the suggestion is not to leave education full stop but provide a more vocational route/setting whilst also providing the basic skills

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 09:33:56

Work experience isn't new, either (I was doing it in the 1970s). But it's usually only for a week or two, isn't it? For it to be a more significant part of a person's education, presumably it would have to last for much longer.

Also, if research shows that this sort of approach is successful, then maybe more schemes could be funded. Why are they so expensive, Cricketballs, do you know? Presumably they release teachers to do other work, and the businesses that provide the training would also benefit if they ended up employing the young person. Or do the companies have to be 'bribed' to take them on?

usualsuspect Fri 29-Jul-11 09:33:58

People need to stop thinking that taking a vocational route is a second best option

More employers need to take vocational qualifications seriously

Until this attitude changes I can't see how a scheme like this will work

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 09:42:08

Cricketballs, I think anyone who wants to and who is prepared to work hard and get the grades required, should go to university. I see it as preparation for life, whatever the course they do (vocational included), as the things they learn while in higher education broaden their outlook and help them in all sorts of ways in later life. It's not necessarily quantifiable.

But that's another topic, really.

Agree with Usualsuspect that vocational qualifications are not second best and should be valued by employers - but they are, surely? - but I think that going on schemes like this will make the young people more desirable to employers.

lawnimp Fri 29-Jul-11 09:44:09

usual this is mumsnet - vocational work is for the working class surely <tut> wink

cricketballs Fri 29-Jul-11 09:55:13

the expense comes from having to pay providers; e.g. a college placement is very expensive and in my area the cost has tripled this academic year. As there are only 1 of 2 students in each school teachers are not freed up as they only lose 1 student in maybe 1 or 2 classes a week.

The businesses that supply the work experience are in effect bribed due to the fact that their insurance requirements are different, they have to ensure that they have qualified staff etc etc

Also the cost of supervising and co-ordinating......

lawnimp Fri 29-Jul-11 10:01:10

my dad would bring back national service - he learnt alot there wink

cricketballs Fri 29-Jul-11 10:01:57

grin lawnimp

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 10:11:49

here's teh link to the story:

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 10:13:58

Sorry the link is to a 2007 story. Can't find anything on today's on the BBC website.

Mellowfruitfulness Fri 29-Jul-11 10:20:00

I think it's interesting to look back at when these ideas were first mooted. This one says that staying on until 18 boosts the economy.

Labour government policy.

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