Raising the Participation Age


Raising the participation age and how it will affect you and your Son / Daughter

Raising the Participation Age by 2015, everyone now has to stay in education or training until they're 18 years-old.

What's changed?

Leaving school at 16 and doing nothing isn't an option anymore. It's part of the Government's plan for young people to fulfil their potential. So, all learners who finished Year 11 from May 2014 onwards need to stay in education or training until they're 17 years old. Anyone starting Year 11 from September 2014 must stay in education or training until their 18th birthday or until they've completed a full Level 3 qualification (whichever comes first).

  • Students who started Year 11 in school in September 2012 will continue in education or training until at least the end of the academic year in 2014.

  • Students who started Year 11 in school in September 2013 will continue in education or training until they are 18 years old.

Many parents and students are unsure of the facts and how the change will affect them. To make sure that you are aware of all the options we've provided a brief overview of the key facts.

Dealing with the myths

Firstly, Year 11 students are NOT required to stay on at school after completing their GCSEs. They can choose to undertake any form of full-time education, part-time education or training or an apprenticeship. Depending on your son/daughter's career ambitions, strengths and interests, he or she could opt for any of the following:

  • School
  • Sixth form
  • College
  • Apprenticeship (combined work and study)
  • Part-time education if employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours per week

Your son/daughter can still opt for employment after Year 11, the change to the leaving age simply means that they will have the opportunity to learn while they work in order to develop skills and knowledge that makes them more employable in the future

How it works

Schools, colleges and other training providers are already prepared for RPA. This means that your son/daughter should be informed of and provided with more options to choose from once they complete Year 11 at school.

Most young people already continue with some form of education post-16, whether this is A Levels, a vocational course, an apprenticeship or other work-based form of training that their employer requires them to do.

The change is a means of picking up the small group of young people who, for whatever reason, do not receive or have access to education or training once they leave school. It's also a way to make sure that young people develop the skills and knowledge they need for adult life and employment.

To find out more about RPA, visit the Department for Education's website.

If you would like to find out more about how RPA may affect you and your son / daughter come to one of our information evenings.

Important Dates

For a list of College term dates please see

Derby College Term Dates

Exam results

Thursday 17th August 2017 A level/BTEC Level 3
Thursday 24th August 2017 GCSE/BTEC Level 2

Information Evenings

Information Evenings take place throughout the year.

Information Evening Dates »

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