the chairman for Parliament's schools and colleges watchdog has launched a private members' Bill calling for compulsory education or on-the-job training, which could be provided by employers, from the age of 16 to 18.
Barry Sheerman said the move has been promised repeatedly over the years by education ministers but never delivered. He says his Bill, while having little prospect of becoming law, will help to put ministers under pressure to see the rhetoric is translated into action.
Mr Sheerman described it as a "scandal" that teenagers were allowed to drop out at 16 with no further development of their skills.
"I believe it is wrong that anyone should leave school at 16 and go into employment with no training. It could be full-time education or an apprenticeship, but it must continue after 16," he said.
The prospect of keeping people in education or training up to 19 was raised by Tory education minister Rab Butler in the 1940s, although his idea progressed little further than remarks over lunch.