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School Leaving

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the (a) costs and (b) benefits of raising the education leaving age to 18 years; and if he will make a statement. (149986)

The estimated costs of raising the participation age are set out in the regulatory impact assessment published alongside the Green Paper on 22 March. This can be accessed at:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/RIA%20[FINAL]%20word%20version.pdf

I have placed a copy in the Library of the House. We estimate that there will be one-off costs of around £200 million, made up of £80 million for new buildings and facilities, and £120 million for the training of new staff. We estimate that there will be annual costs of around £740 million on top of costs already factored into achieving our existing aspiration of 90 per cent. participation of 17-year-olds by 2015. This is made up of £590 million in additional participation costs, £50 million in additional funding for local authorities (to run the registration system, to provide additional support and guidance, and to enforce the duty), £10 million in enforcement costs and £90 million in additional costs to support those with special educational needs.

Initial analysis suggests that the additional economic benefit to the economy from all young people participating to 18, over and above the current 90 per cent. participation aspiration, is around £1.4 billion for a single cohort of young people (discounted over their lifetime). The likely benefits of raising the participation age are much wider than this, however, as we know those who participate and attain post 16 enjoy better health, better social skills and reduced likelihood of being involved in crime.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the number of additional pupils aged over 16 years who will be in (a) schools, (b) further education colleges and (c) other academic and vocational education if the education leaving age is raised to 18; and if he will make a statement. (150242)

Figure 4.3 of the “Raising Expectations: staying in education and training post-16” Green Paper, shows the number of additional 16 to 17-year-olds we would expect to be participating in each learning setting if we introduce compulsory participation to age 18. The overall population of 16 and 17-year-olds is projected to decrease after 2007/08, so the increases in participation numbers are not as great as they would be without this demographic trend.

The Green Paper can be found at:

http://www.official-documents.gove.uk/document/cm70/7065/7065.pdf