Raising the Participation Age

The age to which all young people in England are required to continue in education or training was recently changed in 2 stages:

  • students who left year 11 in summer 2013 had to continue in education or training for at least another year until June 2014

  • students who left year 11 in summer 2014 or later have to continue until at least their 18th birthday

This does not mean young people must stay in school. They are able to choose from:

  • full-time education (eg: at a college)

  • an apprenticeship or traineeship

  • part-time education or training combined with one of the following:

    • employment or self-employment for 20 hours or more a week

    • volunteering for 20 hours or more a week

If a young person has not achieved a C or above in GCSE Maths and/or English by the age of 16 they must continue with this subject in their further education or training. Schools, colleges, training providers and employers will only receive funding from the Education Funding Agency for that student if their programme of further study includes an approved Maths and/or English course.

For young people who are being home educated, there is no hourly requirement of education, and the amount and content of that education is at the discretion of the home educator. In most circumstances it will be the young person themselves who will state that they are home-educated. Where a local authority believes there is some doubt they may wish to seek confirmation of this from the parent or guardian, but no ongoing monitoring of the education is required.

Students who aren’t able to study a substantial qualification are expected to take a programme of work experience and continue to develop their numeracy and literacy skills.

Young Person Responsibilities

The changes place a duty on young people themselves. This means that young people aged 16 and 17 are under a duty to continue in education or training for longer. The duty to participate on all young people who left year 11 in summer 2014 or later is until the young person’s 18th birthday and not until the end of the academic year the young person turns 18. Young people are encouraged to complete the education or training they are undertaking.

 Local Authority Responsibilities

Local authorities have the responsibility to identify 16 and 17 year olds who are not participating in education or training. The authority must have robust arrangements to identify young people who are not engaged in education or training or who have left provision and work to offer support as soon as possible. Local authorities are expected to pay particular attention to young people who are ‘Not in Employment, Education or Training’ (NEET) or whose current activity is not known. Local authorities should continue to maintain close links with Jobcentre Plus to ensure that young people who are NEET and receiving benefits get support that is appropriate to their needs.

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If you need any further help or advice, please contact the Careers and Employability Team