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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?

jackjacksmummy Mon 13-May-13 14:16:00

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.

pumpkinsweetie Mon 13-May-13 14:17:34

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?

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