As a result of the Education and Skills Act 2008, from 2015 onwards the leaving age for compulsory education will be 18, not 16. My idea is to turn the clock back on this legislation put through by the previous government to boost education statistics (but not necessarily standards). I would have the compulsory leaving age put back to 16.

Why is this idea important?

My idea is important for a number of reasons.

The first reason is with regards to civil liberties. 16 year olds are allowed to raise children. 17 year olds are allowed to drive a car. Yet, with this legislation we are saying these people are not responsible enough to choose what they do with their education? Having a child is far more life changing, it impacts both the parent and the newly born, yet the government feels arrogant enough to force these people into education. This is utterly disgraceful in my opinion.

Secondly, not all 16 year olds know what they want to do with their lives yet. When I was 16 I did not go on to do a-levels. I left school with some GCSEs. Although I considered doing multimedia studies I was not particularly interested. It was only when I was 19 that I knew what I wanted to do. I ended up doing a BTEC National Diploma in IT (inspite having to pay for part of the costs, unlike those under the age of 18). I succesfully completed the BTEC and I am now at a well respected university.

Let us assume the alternative, if I had been forced by the government to do the multimedia studies I would likely not have passed with flying colours. I also would have been unable to do the BTEC because the government only pays for most of the costs if you have not already undertaken a qualification of that level. So, for me personally, we can definitely say being able to leave education at 16 was a positive thing.

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