Set them free to choose at 14

20th July 2007 at 01:00

Mick Fletcher is right to query the value of raising the leaving age to 18 ("Flaws of faith in compulsion", FE Focus, July 6).

In our book, Chance of a Lifetime, the late Jonathan Langdale and I propose that the leaving age be reduced to 14 once a School Leaving Certificate has been introduced (a certificate of competence to deal with the adult world, not of academic prowess). Young people would then be able to attend Personal Education of their own choice outside the stifling institution of school.

The Government has been forcing up school standards for 10 years now without any discernable improvement in the education of young people. Pressing the "more" button is unlikely to do anything other than alienate many young people still further.

It is interesting that neither of the new ministries has the word education in its title, proving that the institution of school has finally triumphed over the important business of education.

John Harrison


East Sussex

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