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Education sector split over school leaving age

Date 25 Oct 2007
Author The Editor

A poll by a Newcastle based qualification provider has revealed that the education sector is split over plans to raise the school leaving age.

NCFE carried out the survey at, asking colleges, training providers and students throughout the UK "Do you think forcing young people to stay in education until the age of 18 would have a positive effect?" The results were split with 47 per cent of respondents answering yes and 53 per cent answering no.

David Grailey, Chief Executive at NCFE, said: "We were anticipating a difference in opinion but the poll has shown that the education sector is strongly divided on this subject. "Learners take many different approaches to learning and it's difficult to find a ‘best fit for all' solution. Many people also find that an academic route to education does not suit their learning needs and turn to a vocational route to develop skills and enhance their career prospects."

If the proposed plans were implemented, all teenagers would be required to remain in education or training until their 18th birthday. It would also be the first increase in the leaving age since 1972.

The proposal is part of an ongoing plan to ensure more young people continue in education and training. In 2006, there were 124,000 young people aged 16 and 17 who were not in any education or employment and a further 79,000 were in full-time employment but did not have any training.

David Grailey said: "Whatever the outcome of the proposal may be, it is vital that we continue to encourage people of all ages to develop their skills and progress though education and training."

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