Raising Participation Age (RPA)

From the summer of 2013 the government raised the ‘Participation Age’, this is the age that young people have to stay in education and training.

They will have to continue in education or training until at least their 18th birthday. This does not mean they will have to stay on at school after Year 11. Your child will have a choice about how they want to continue their education or training from age 16, which could be:

  • Full time education, such as school or college.
  • Work-based learning, such as an apprenticeship.
  • Part time education or training if they are employed, self employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

Why is there a change?

This change is happening so that all young people have the opportunity to develop the skills they need for adult life and to achieve their full potential. Taking part in learning for longer means they are more likely to get the skills and qualifications that will open doors to future employment, help them make the most of their potential, and earn more over their lifetime.

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 time.

What does this mean for Parents?

The legal requirement to participate will be on your child. This is because we know that at 16, young people should be starting to make and take responsibility for the decisions that affect their future. We know that you will want to do all you can to support your child to make the right decision as they choose between education and training options.

Making choices about education and training can be a challenge, so your child will receive support to help them choose well. The careers information they will receive includes options information from school, information and advice via the young people’s careers helpline and online resources. Your child will receive careers advice and guidance from many people including their subject teachers, careers co-ordinators or careers advisers. This will help them to think through their ideas and weigh up the pros and cons of different options.