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Support for raising school leaving age, says Johnson
Nine out of ten people support the idea of staying in education or training until the age of 18, according to research published by Education Secretary Alan Johnson.
In a speech delivered yesterday to the Sector Skills Development Agency Mr Johnson highlighted the research which he said showed public support for extending compulsory education. He said raising the education leaving age had long term benefits for individuals, society and the economy, plugging the skills gap and boosting life chances.
According to the research:
Mr Johnson said: "The research being published today shows that there is wide support for raising the compulsory education age to 18, not just from pupils and employers, but wider society. Responses vary according to gender and region. But one of the most telling results must be the increase in support from the older age groups. There can be no stronger statement than the show of support from parents and grandparents, who realise that a good education is fundamental to fulfilling life and that leaving school at too young an age can damage opportunity.
"Today's stable economy and renewed educational infrastructure puts us in a strong position to introduce this major reform."
Mr Johnson added that raising the education participation age would also play a big role in meeting the skills challenge identified by Lord Leitch, increasing productivity by at least a billion pound a year.
Mr Johnson said the green paper will be published shortly and a consultation period will follow.
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