Education and training at 16 and 17: Frequently asked questions
Why is the school leaving age raising? School is not right for everyone.
Raising the participation age is not the same as raising the school leaving age. The school leaving age will stay the same and you will still be able to leave school after Year 11. You will then be able to choose the post-16 option that is best for you. The choices are full-time education, work based learning (such as an apprenticeship or foundation learning), or full-time employment or volunteering with part-time training which leads to an accredited qualification.
This is a new Government policy to give all young people the opportunity to develop the skills they need for adult life and to achieve their full potential. Staying in education or training means that young people will be more qualified, with better job prospects and opportunity for higher earnings. It will also increase the level of employability and skills within the economy.
You are stopping me from working full-time.
You will still be able to work or volunteer full-time - this is one of the ways to participate. However, you will have to undertake part-time training which leads to an accredited qualification as well.
A business will not want to employ me if I have to do training too.
Employing people from a young age allows employers to build a workforce best suited to their needs and the needs of the industry. Ensuring that you are undertaking training with your employment means that you are developing the skills and gaining the qualifications that will benefit you and your employer. Many employers already offer training and apprenticeships to young people, recognising the importance of young people continuing to learn and the benefits this brings.
Employers must check that you are enrolled in appropriate training before you start work, and if needed, they must agree reasonable hours of work to enable you to attend this training.
I’ll be forced to stay at school or college with other students who don’t want to be in education.
There will not be a large increase in the number of young people participating as the vast majority of young people already continue in education and training post-16. At the end of 2010, 96.1% of 16 year olds were participating in education and work based learning.
We are not raising the school leaving age, so you won’t be forced to stay in school or college. You’ll be free to choose the option that is right for you. Hampshire County Council is responsible for making sure you have the offer of a place in education or training that is appropriate for you.
Are there any consequences if I don’t participate?
We want to encourage you to participate because we recognise the benefits it will bring – such as better job prospects and increased earnings over your lifetime. That is why the vast majority of 16 and 17 year olds are participating in education or training already. By changing the law, we are making sure that all young people have the opportunity to access the learning option that is right for them.
The Government has decided not to fine young people for not participating. This is because they want to give people time to adapt to the new changes. However, this may change in the future when it is reviewed on an annual basis from 2014.
You’ve got rid of Connexions. How can you claim to be supporting young people?
The Government has decided to move away from services like Connexions because, in too many cases, it was not meeting the needs of young people. From September 2012, schools are now responsible for providing independent careers guidance for their pupils. Schools are best placed to offer young people the advice and support they need and help them decide what to do after Year 11.
Is there any financial support?
Financial support is available. The 16 - 19 Bursary Fund supports young people who need it most, such as those in care, teenage parents and those with a disability, amongst others. Schools and colleges also have funds to provide support to, such as helping to meet travel costs. Hampshire County Council also offers financial support for transport costs. For more information, contact your education or training provider.