Mark Dawe, the chief executive of one of the country's...
- Education Professionals
Warning over raising of school leaving age to 18
Researchers from the Institute of Education have been monitoring preparations for the reforms and comparing them with the run-up to the raising of the school leaving age (ROSLA) to 16, which took place 40 years ago this month.
From next summer, all young people in England will have to remain in education or training until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17.
However, the researchers are warning that schools and colleges will face problems as the new system kicks in, not least with absenteeism.
One of the researchers, Dr Tom Woodin, said: “In poorer ‘pockets’ of the country, where there is
The government says that it does not want to criminalise young people by fining them for non-compliance, but it may eventually have to resort to other measures that would also be regrettable, such as withdrawal of benefits from absentees.
“In the immediate years after ROSLA, the official leaving date was the end of the summer term, well after examinations had ended. This led to mass absenteeism of over 50 per cent in some schools. As a result, an earlier summer leaving date was introduced in 1976. The government may be forced to make similar adjustments.”
Fears have also been raised that “a significant minority” of young people may struggle to find an appropriate post-16 course – a situation which the researchers predict could persist for several years. They say that the English Baccalaureate exam reform, announced by education secretary Michael Gove earlier this month, could “make it even harder for many students to find good quality education or training options”.