Parents approve of government proposal for compulsory education or training up to the age of 18

Majority of parents agree with government proposals for compulsory education or training for children until the age of 18, research has found.

A survey conducted by independent education and training body Learning and Skills Network (LSN) found that seven in 10 respondents are in favour of recommendations from education secretary, Alan Johnson, to raise the school leaving age in England from 16 to 18 by 2013.

The research, Raising the leaving learning age; are the public convinced?, however, found that of those parents who don’t agree with the proposal, 93% believe teenagers have a right to choose.

Moreover, only 15% of respondents agree that those children who drop out should be criminalised.

For those teenagers questioned, only half believe that increasing the leaving learning age is a good idea. But, like parents, they agree that unco-operative children should not face criminal sanctions. 

The survey also revealed scepticism from parents as eight in 10 weren’t convinced that teenagers who were not interested in learning would comply with the change.

John Stone, chief executive of the Learning and Skills Network said: “Parents support the proposal but they don’t want young people who drop out of education or training before they are 18 to face tough sanctions or be criminalised. One route could be to work closely with young people who aren’t motivated to learn and offer more imaginative solutions such as online learning programmes, young enterprise schemes and internships.”

Additional findings of the survey:

  • 68% of parents believe it will provide employers with a better trained workforce.
  • 72% of parents think that the change will help to provide teenagers with the skills they need to build a fulfilling career
  • 20% believe it will reduce the number of teenagers involved in crime
  • 13% believe that it will help reduce teenage pregnancy.

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