The Spending Plan policy 15: return the compulsory school leaving age to 16 and scrap 16–19 bursary scheme

Each day we are publishing a blog on one of the policies from our Spending Plan. Click here to see all blogs in this series.

Education policy aimed at 16–19 year olds must change.

For some time we have pushed children into A-Levels and towards university when it has not been suitable for all of them. A target of 50 per cent of school-leavers attending university has been scrapped, which is welcome as it was misguided; it demonstrated that we didn’t take manual qualifications and apprenticeships seriously enough and it stopped some students from entering the workplace when that may have been the better option.

Scrapping the education maintenance allowance was the right thing to do in the long term and we should also abolish the 16–19 bursary scheme. Returning the compulsory school leaving age to 16 would allow some students who would prefer to pursue employment, work experience or another form of qualification to pursue their goals.

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