Too young to make the choice

10th November 2006 at 00:00
Self-made Glasgow millionaire Willie Haughey would raise the school-leaving age to 18 for youngsters with no job, training or college place at 16.

Mr Haughey is a member of the Smith Group, the schools-business partnership set up at the First Minister's request to tackle the issue of youngsters not in education, employment or training (NEET). He is also chairman of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.

The influential businessman has outlined his personal views on preventing youngsters going straight into unemployment on leaving school to Peter Peacock, the Education Minister.

Speaking at an international education conference in Glasgow, Mr Haughey insisted he was not advocating a return to "bootcamps" or sending youngsters off to the army. "I just want them to get an education," he said.

Mr Haughey, the boss of a multi-million pound facilities management company, City Refrigeration, said 16-year-olds currently do whatever they want when they leave school.

"If a kid is 16-years-old and going to become part of the Neet group, he shouldn't be leaving school. He is too young to make that choice," he said.

"I would move the school-leaving age to 18. But if he has got a job, he could leave earlier."

But, potential Neet youngsters should not be made to follow the kind of curriculum that had turned them off education in the first place, he said.

"It should be interesting and vocational."

He criticised the First Minister's plans for new skills academies, arguing that "we should be putting more vocational training into the curriculum".

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