Consultation is to be carried out into the Government's proposals for compulsory education or training up to the age of 18, writes Emily Ashton of Press Association.
The plans - reported in FE Focus in November - are now to be put forward in a Green Paper, after which the Government will decide whether they should be made law.
The change could come into force in 2013, bringing an increased role for colleges and new obligations on employers to make sure their youngest staff are being trained on the job.
It would be the first such change since the school leaving age was increased to 16, from 15, in 1972.
Teenagers would have to stay in full-time education or join a Government-approved training scheme, such as an apprenticeship.
Current 10-year-olds could be the first batch of pupils to be affected by the change.