ILC Soap Box

Lower not raise the school leaving age

soap boxBecause so many young people drop out of learning by 16, the government wants to make staying on until 18 compulsory. Worthy cause, faulty logic?

We agree everyone should reach a certain educational standard to have a good chance in life. (Let’s call this Level 2). But if someone has had enough of learning, changing the law will merely criminalise individuals who in fact need incentivising. So why not lower the school leaving age to 14 but only let people leave once they have reached their Level 2.

Those still wanting to learn can still stay on until 18. Those who leave will have a positive achievement and therefore be more likely to continue learning, either in work or at a later stage in their life.


Department for Children’s, Schools & Families

The creation of the Department for children’s, schools and families highlights the determination to give children and young people the best start in life. While the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills will help ensure colleges and universities provide the skills for economic success. But with colleges offering “sixth form” studies alongside Foundation Degrees and universities being allowed to engage in running schools departmental boundaries need to blur in practice. Local agencies support individuals who each have their own needs and circumstances. The need to pick and mix funding streams to provide a holistic service will continue to be important. The key question will be how clearly and coherently the government agenda is communicated from Number 10.

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