We, the undersigned, oppose the proposals to raise the UK school leaving age to 18. Our reasons for this are as thus:
1. We should be looking for the reasons why so many 16 year old currently wish to leave school early. If the Government can't keep them interested past 16 then how does two extra years help?
2. Young adults should be encouraged to stay on at school and should WANT to, not be forced into something they don't want. No one learns well when they're unhappy.
3. Problems such as bullying, school phobia, truancy, lack of discipline, violence, learning difficulties and disinterest are still rife as it stands, two more years of education/training will make things worse. Around 50,000 pupils miss school each day currently - that figure will only rise if young adults are forced to stay on. The Government spent %uFFFD900 million on anti-truancy campaigns and the figures were hardly reduced.
4. It is ridiculous to suggest that 16 year olds may be allowed by law to have children and get married but not be allowed to leave school.
5. Training and further education opportunities are all available after leaving school at 16 anyway, and these options should be made more attractive to encourage people to participate as those who want to be in school etc. are more likely to learn and achieve the qualifications they've been working towards.
6. 16 children in the UK commit suicide each year due to problems with school. Forcing teenagers to stay in education for two more years may raise that already shocking figure.
7. Proposals for prosecution and community service orders for those who do not attend are preposterous. Currently community service is handed out to minor incidents of drink driving, theft, vandalism, assault, drug possession etc. Should we really be handing out the same punishment to young adults who don't attend education?
8. The increased amount of young adults staying on in school will mean either increased class sizes or more teachers. Which will it be? We are already suffering a shortage of teachers and how big will classes be increased to? More pupils means less one-to-one time with the teacher and with the subjects being more complex at this level of education, will this arrangement really help towards producing young adults with more qualifications?
This legislation is draconian, ineffective and will cause more problems than it will solve. It is a farce to claim that forcing unwanted education/training on 16-18 year olds will help our young people. These proposals are a way of "catching up" with other countries in the leaving age department - is it fair to take away young adults' choices about their future just to 'fit in?'
We say 'No' to rasing the leaving age, and we say 'Yes' to young adults having the right to choose!
Thank you for your time.