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‘Care Must Be Taken’ On Education Participation Age Introduction

Legal Expert Calls For Individual Needs Of Young People To Be Considered


By Rob Dixon

Changes to legislation in relation to the education participation age could prove to be a positive step, if the implementation recognises the individual needs of young people, according to an education law expert.

The Government is increasing the age to which all young people in England must be in either education or training, in an effort to tackle the issue of employment among those leaving school or college.

Under the plans, pupils who have left Year 11 this summer need to continue in education or training until at least the end of the academic year in which they turn 17. Pupils starting Year 11 or below in September 2013 will need to continue until at least their 18th birthday.

The changes do not necessarily mean children will have to stay in school, as they could be able to continue training and education through either:

  • Full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider
  • Full-time work or volunteering, combined with part-time education or training
  • Securing an apprenticeship

Commenting on the changes, Polly Sweeney, a legal expert in education issues in Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law team, said that the move could prove to be a welcome one if implemented in the right manner.

She outlined: “The changes provide an opportunity to enhance children and young people’s rights to education and if implemented properly, will ensure young people are offered more choices and options in learning, as they can decide whether to continue their learning in school, college, training or in the workplace.

“However, if the changes are to have the positive impact which is hoped, it will be important to ensure there is sufficient funding available so that disadvantaged young people and their families have the financial support necessary adapt to the changes, and that the requirements allow sufficient flexibility to meet the individual needs of young people.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Education Law