The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. From 2015, all young people are required to continue in learning or training until the age of 18.

Raising the participation age (RPA) does not mean young people must stay in school; they can choose one of the following options:

  • Full-time education, such as school or college
  • An Apprenticeship or a Traineeship
  • Part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

Why has this changed?

This change has been created to give all young people the opportunity to develop skills and qualifications that will open doors to future employment; it will also help them make the most of their potential.

What does this mean, and how can I help as a parent?

The legal requirement to participate will be on your child. This is because we know that, at the age 16 young people are starting to make decisions about their future.

As a parent you could support your child by talking to them about their aspirations for a future career.

Help them research about the different types of careers they may be interested in and what qualifications are required.

Visit post – 16 open evenings to talk to staff about courses and to find out what it might be like to study at a particular provider.

What happens if my child does not move onto a post-16 pathway?

If a child refuses to engage in a form of education or training, they will be classed as a NEET (not in education or employment) by the local authority this will then have an impact on child benefits you would normally receive for that child.

How can the school help?

We know that making choices about education and training can be a challenge, which is why REACH School have a dedicated careers guidance worker who can support your child to make informative decisions about their future aspirations and post-16 pathways.