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Home > News > May 2007 > 17 May 2007

Young people's consultation on increasing the leaving age

Education secretary Alan Johnson has launched a young people's consultation on whether the education and training leaving age should be increased to 18.

A recent poll found that (90%) of respondents support the idea of staying in education or training until the age of 18 but the consultation launched this week aims to gain a picture of young peoples views in particular.

Mr Johnson launched the consultation in Leeds, at a regional conference to encourage debate and get views on the leaving age proposals across the country.

Mr Johnson said: "I believe all young people whatever their background, will benefit from staying in education or training until their 18th birthday to ensure they have the skills to get and keep a job in today's very competitive market place.

"The days of walking out of the school gates without good qualifications and into a low skilled job are long gone. That is good, because it means higher skilled jobs and better prospects but it also means having the right skills to get those jobs.

"This is not about forcing young people to stay in the classroom for an extra two years. Staying on in education or training to 18 could mean a sixth form or further education college or it could mean training whilst in a job.

"I want to hear what everyone has to say, that is the whole point of publishing a green paper. But I am particularly keen to hear the views of young people who will be affected by this change in policy which is why I have launched a consultation geared towards them."

The government's proposals are set out for public consultation in the Green Paper, Raising Expectations published 22 March 2007.

The Green Paper sets out a wide ranging package for consultation, including:

* From 2013, young people should remain in education or training after 16 this means the first pupils to be affected would be those entering secondary school in September next year.

* Young people would be required to work towards accredited qualifications at school, in a college, or in 'on the job' training or day release;

* Apprenticeships will be significantly expanded so that they are available to any qualified young person who wants one;

* Participation should be full time for young people not in employment for a significant part of the week and part time for those working more than 20 hours a week;

* Better advice and guidance for young people to enable them to access the provision that's right for them;

* Building on the Education Maintenance Allowance the government will consider new financial support measures to ensure young people from low income backgrounds get the support they need to overcome any barriers to participation.

The consultation period runs until 14 June 2007 and there is also a young people's version. For more details or to respond to the government's proposals, visit: www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations

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