Raising the Participation Age (RPA)
The Government is increasing the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training, requiring them to continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17 from 2013 and until their 18th birthday from 2015.
Raising the participation age (RPA) does not mean young people must stay in school; they will able to choose one of the following options post-16:
- full-time education, such as school, college or home education
- an apprenticeship
- part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering full-time (which is defined as 20 hours or more a week).
Evidence shows that not being in education, employment or training at age 16-18 means young people are more likely to be unemployed, earn less, have a criminal record and suffer from poor health and depression over their lifetime.
RPA will take effect from the last day of the academic year in summer 2013 – young people with an offer of a place, are not expected to participate until the start date of their course i.e. in most instances the September following the Summer break.
Need help deciding where to go?
The legal requirement to participate will be on the young person. This is because, at 16, young people should be starting to make – and take responsibility for – the decisions that affect their future.
However, making choices about education and training can be a challenge, young people will always look to their parents and others for advice and support as they make these decisions.