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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!


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.

TheHumancatapult Sun 19-May-13 18:49:47

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

TheHumancatapult Sun 19-May-13 18:48:02

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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.

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?

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.

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

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

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?

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?

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

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

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.

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?

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.

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).

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

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.

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.

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

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