Raising the Participation Age (RPA)

If your child is currently in year 11 they will need to continue in education or training until at least the end of the academic year in which they turn 17. A child currently in year 10 or below will need to continue until at least their 18th birthday.

This does not necessarily mean staying in school; young people will have a choice about how they continue in education or training post-16, which could be through:

• Full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider.

• Full-time work or volunteering combined with part-time education or training.

• An Apprenticeship www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Why is it changing?
The vast majority of 16 and 17 year olds already continue in some form of education or training. However, the small group of young people not participating includes some of the most vulnerable. The government have stated they want all young people to have the opportunity to develop the skills they need for adult life and to achieve their full potential.

What does this mean for parents/guardians?
The legal requirement to participate will be on your son or daughter. This is because the government believes young people should start to make – and take responsibility for – the decisions that affect their future.

Young people should seek out careers advice to help them make their choices, schools are now responsible for securing independent careers guidance for their pupils in years 9-11 (to be extended to years 8-13 from September 2013). Your child can also contact trained advisers for impartial advice at the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 (open from 8.00am to 10pm, seven days a week) – and they can use the web-chat service by accessing the website at https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk

Your local authority is also responsible for making sure all young people have a suitable offer of a place in education or training and you can contact them directly for more information. You can find contact details for your local authority through the Gov.uk website here: http://tinyurl.com/csb4hzl

What happens if my child doesn’t participate?
The law is changing, but there will be no action taken against any young people who don’t participate. Young people should be encouraged to participate because of the benefits it will bring – this is the reason why the vast majority of 16 and 17 year-olds already choose to continue in education or training.  Your local authority is responsible for identifying and supporting 16-17 year olds who are not participating and will be working to ensure that young people are enrolled on a suitable education or training place.

Where can I find out more?
More information on RPA is available here: www.education.gov.uk/rpa