Bad news for the compulsory school leaving age in Britain

So we all know that our compulsory school leaving age is being increased, to 18 by 2015 (Hodgson and Spours, 2008) and while educational participation and attainment may be on the rise globally as well as nationally we do need to wonder about what the consequences may be.

While I am not an expert on this topic I have come across one piece of information during my literature review for my dissertation that concerns me…

Most OECD countries have a 90% or higher completion of compulsory education.

However 14 OECD countries and associated countries have lower then 90% compulsory education completion, 10 out of 14 of these have a high compulsory attendance leaving age for example around 17 and 18 (OECD, 2012).

While I do not have any direct correlation between the leaving age and the completion of school it seems logical that if someone doesn’t like something they are more likely to leave if they feel that it will last a long time. So having an increased leaving age may have the potential of putting people off attending school.

One way that this could be combated is to give students a meaningful accreditation solely for good attendance at school, this may bring them some incentive to attend until the end of their compulsory education, this is a method used in Japanese kōtōgakkō or upper secondary schools for 15-18year olds (Howarth, 1991).

Hodgson, A and Spours, K (2008). Education and Training 14-19 curriculum, qualifications & organisation. London: Sage Publications LTD.

Howarth, M (1991). Britain’s Educational Reform: A Comparison with Japan. London: Routladge.

OECD (2012) Education Today 2013: The OECD Perspective. OECD Publishing. 

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