Friday, January 12, 2007

Raising of the school leaving age

Alan Johnson the Education Secretary is to announce that the school leaving age should be raised to eighteen, according to the Times:
"With full encouragement from Gordon Brown, Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, has set up a team to organise the lifting of the age at which children must be at school, in training or in an apprenticeship from 16 to 18 by 2013.

Ten-year-olds who enter secondary school next year will be the first to have to stay in mandatory education until they are 18. It will be the first rise in the school leaving age since 1972, when it was raised to 16."
Not sure I understand the reasons behind this. One seems to be something to do with tackling unemployment:
"The change, which will affect around 330,000 teenagers, will help to tackle rising youth unemployment, with unskilled school leavers finding it increasingly difficult to get a job."
Tackle? That should say delay unemployment, surely? On a previous occasion Alan Johnson mooted raising the school leaving age in order to combat adult illiteracy. I think most teachers would agree with me that if a youth has managed to get through 11 years of compulsory education without acquiring the ability to read and write, the chances of this being sorted out with a further two years are pretty slim.

The other reason seems to be an aesthetic one:
"It should be as unacceptable to see a 16-year- old working, with no training, no education, as it is now to see a 14-year-old. A 14-year-old at work was common until the Butler changes [after the Second World War], but now you would find it repellent."
Well, speak for yourself. If I have to see 16-year-olds with no skills and no education - which I do - I think I'd rather this was in a quarry breaking rocks rather than cluttering up my goddam classroom.

ROSLA Update: Apparently this insane idea is to apply on both sides of the border:
"Jack McConnell, the First Minister, told the Scottish Labour conference last November that he wanted similar changes north of the Border.

Under the plans, which are set to form a key part of Labour's Holyrood manifesto, pupils would only be allowed to leave school at 16 if they were entering employment, training or further education."


Anonymous said...

They are completely mad.

We already have hulking sulking 15-year-olds in school, who don't want to be there, won't do anything, and simply destroy the opportunities - limited enough, in all conscience - for those who actually want to learn.

The idea of making seventeen-year-old neds stay in school (or something resembling it) is beyond absurd.

(Of course I do appreciate it's nothing to do with education, it's simply another way to massage the unemployment figures.)

Anonymous said...

ach stop yer whinging and get on with your job man.

Better they're in there with you than out here with the rest of us.

You've still got that six - going on seven - weeks holiday in the summer to look forward to as well haven't you?

dearieme said...

The one thing we should have learned from the Bolsheviks - how to deal with feral children.

Unknown said...

Well, bugger Means an extra two years of having to put up with the twats for the decent students. It was only when I got into sixth form that school stopped being a nightmare back in the day.

Anonymous said...

Terrible sense of deja vu here...Started teaching in an Edinburgh comp in 1974 when they last raised the leaving age [to 16 then]. Same thing: keep them off the broo.

Shuggy said...

Yeah? You'll remember people talking about "ROSLA kids" then?

Anonymous said...

“Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done.”
There’s a good essay about the horribleness of schools at He is talking about American schools but it probably applies to any school in the industrial world.
Boys who used to leave school to work would be kept into line by a band of adult males instead of one unfortunate teacher.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are correct Shuggy. It is another truly idiotic idea. Retaining the DNA of innocents is another key part of Scottish Labour manifesto too.
Yet, you have already told us that you will lend both your support and vote to Scottish Labour.

Are you for real?

Anonymous said...

"Under the plans, which are set to form a key part of Labour's Holyrood manifesto, pupils would only be allowed to leave school at 16 if they were entering employment, training or further education."

Ye know whits gonnae happen don't ye?

They will all go to F.E. Colleges to get the hell out of school (and the schools will doubtless be glad to see the back of them), and when they get there they will do bugger all and lark about and turn F.E. into a joke, and the Executive will of course pay the colleges to take them, and the colleges will want to be places of serious education but will be unable to resist riding the gravy train.

And the Executive halfwits will boast about how many people are in education and the lunacy will go on and on and on and on etc.

Shuggy said...

Yet, you have already told us that you will lend both your support and vote to Scottish Labour.

Are you for real?

Yep - this would be a unionist vote, as I've said already. What would you suggest as an alternative?

Anonymous said...

'What would you suggest as an alternative?'

Anything you want Shuggy - as your other post above points out, the chances of this election leading to a winning referendum on Independence are nil.
I think damn near everybody in Scotland knows that.
So, if there there is no danger to the Union, just why do you intend to support then vote these useless turds back in?

Shuggy said...

Hmmm, fair point. Useless turds, certainly. Suppose I don't have as much confidence in my own predictions really.

Anonymous said...

This is a really stupid idea. I don't go to a school where the main reason to go is to learn. There are only a few people such as myself who actually want to stay on and get an education.It would be really distracting because they would just rebel aginst it.

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