School-leaving age plans unwise

12th September 2008 at 01:00

Those starting secondary school in England this week will be the first in the UK required to stay in full-time education until age 17. In two years, English pupils starting secondary will see the school-leaving age raised again to 18.

This policy is wrong. For many 16-year-olds, better routes to success exist outside the classroom, in the world of work. A new batch of classroom-taught vocational diplomas won't give young people practical on- the-job skills so many businesses need. Get them into work and train them there.

It will disrupt schools, produce fewer skilled people and be a failure. Meanwhile, the Government's real crime will be to have wasted the potential of those 16-year-olds, unsuited to higher education, who would relish the kind of trade apprenticeship I was privileged to take up at 16.

I hope any plans to import this misguided policy north of the border gain no mileage at Holyrood.

Gerard Eadie, chairman, CR Smith and vice-chair of the Prince's Trust in Scotland.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now