School leaving age to increase

Jazz 31 January 2008 19

Having long finished 12 years of schooling it never occured to me that the ACT is one of two remaining state/territories that has a lower school leaving age than everyone else.

I was appraised of the discrepancy by this story on ABC online which outlines Andrew Barr’s proposal to increase the school leaving age to 16. He’s quick to caution that it will require lots of committee’s and debate to ensure its not ” solely focused on staying at school, that we need to look a the range of different education pathways.” Whatever that means.

What impact this will have on the 10% of students that dont finish their education is anybodys guess.

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19 Responses to School leaving age to increase
Thumper Thumper 8:44 am 01 Feb 08

Frankly, this is just silly.

Does Mr Barr feel inadequate at the moment and so made this up just to remind the public that he exists?

nyssa76 nyssa76 8:28 am 01 Feb 08

Yes, leave them there longer. Bugger the problems some cause for those who want to learn.

Schools are becoming nothing more than baby sitting centres.

Thanks Mr. Barr. Again you’re speaking crap.

utah utah 11:44 pm 31 Jan 08

So is Andrew Barr just trying to keep people in school, or is there some other outcome – better employment opportunities, higher income in the first ten years out of school – that he’s trying to achieve? If that’s the case, how is he going to measure whether the legislation serves its aims?

Gerry-Built Gerry-Built 11:37 pm 31 Jan 08

currently it (age at which students can leave – or be “asked to leave”) is 15 and nine months. Is raising it by 3 months going to do all that much but bring us into line with the other systems? Is that important? Are there not more important issues that deserve Mr Barr’s attention just a smidgen more?

Besides – having lost some of the drongos that have been “asked to leave” at 15&9mths is some of the little respite we get from those buggers at school! ;-P

Aurelius Aurelius 4:45 pm 31 Jan 08

Keeping kids in school is about keeping the unemployment numbers low. Haven’t you people seen Yes Prime Minister?

Sands Sands 4:44 pm 31 Jan 08

I’d raise it like my brothers.

VYBerlinaV8 VYBerlinaV8 4:34 pm 31 Jan 08

“Goodness, how does your mother make you pregnant?”

Dammit, it takes two to tango – if you get your mum pregnant it’s your responsibility too!

Dante Dante 3:35 pm 31 Jan 08


What is with Barr setting up these incessant unwarranted reviews. I came in here to re-iterate that the ACT has the highest rate of school completions of any state or territory in Australia, and I’d bank on it being due to our current high school/college system.

If my memory serves me correctly, high school leavers that aren’t going to get much out of college are often told that they should think about alternative education methods aka TAFE or an apprenticeship.

If the age of compulsory education is raised then this information just won’t be able to be dispensed to some children, because they aren’t 16 yet!

Hell. I finished college at age 16.. what if I’d skipped another year when I was younger? Would the Government have forced me into another year of schooling, even though I’m holding a piece of paper saying I’m a Yr 12 graduate?

Isn’t there an old adage: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

GnT GnT 3:14 pm 31 Jan 08

I agree with neanderthalsis and gun street girl. I don’t think forcing kids to stay at school longer is good for anyone. However forcing them to either be at school or in the workforce (ie not on the dole or on the street) is a good compromise, offering choice to those students not academially inclined while ensuring they are not going to be “drop-outs”.

Sands Sands 2:42 pm 31 Jan 08

Goodness, how does your mother make you pregnant? And is it just me or are a high number of homosexuals (per capita) from Tasmania?

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 2:31 pm 31 Jan 08

is that pregnant at 15 to their father/brother/cousin/mother?

Mælinar Mælinar 2:26 pm 31 Jan 08

Tasmanian college models generally find themselves spat out by the industry once they get pregnant or 20.

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 2:22 pm 31 Jan 08

Tasmania has a College model very similar to that in the ACT yet has the second lowest retention rate (64.8% ahead of NT at 58.4%, national average is 74.7%) The high ACT retention rates are more to do with the socio-economic wellbeing of your average Canberran than the marvels of the college system.

gun street girl gun street girl 2:04 pm 31 Jan 08

Thing is, the college system already offers an incredibly broad range of subjects (this is why I reckon we enjoy such good retention rates already). I agree, though – I doubt forcing kids to stay at school is going to be particularly productive in the absence of an improvement/modification on what is already offered. If you improve the system, arguably, there’s no need to force retention anyway – they will stay of their own accord (which is, in part, what we see happening already).

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 2:01 pm 31 Jan 08

A number of states have introduced an “Earn or Learn” (such as QLDs Education and Training Reforms for the Future)policy which ensures that until the age of 17, kids are engaged in full time education, either at school or an alternative VET program, or engaged in full time work. Some states have gone further and stipulated that the work option must be an apprenticeship or traineeship, to ensure sustainable employment outcomes in the future.

QLD was the first state to up the leaving age and conducted the first trials of the ETRF back in 2004. The program had a considerable success rate in upskilling those kidlets that had previously disengaged (kicked out or dropped out) from the education system through a combination of soft skills development (the warm and fuzzy stuff) and vocational skills including substantial blocks of work experience.

Often the key to retention in education for the average 15 – 17YO with a non-academic inclination is to tie learning outcomes to perceivably beneficial vocationally specific skills. Instead of forcing calculus and theories of Paolo Freire upon them, teach them to weld, lay bricks or cook, skills that they can see as being useful in the real world.

One of the underpinning areas that also needs to be addressed is the apalling language, literacy and numeracy rates anongst school aged children and Australian adults. The recently released findings of the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALLS) conducted by the ABS has 46% of the adult population lacking the basic literacy and numeracy skills to function in everday life (performing at or below ESF level 2for those interested, equating to considerable difficulty in reading and understanding basic documents, filling in fomrs and basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). The ability to engage in further education and training relies upon a foundational level of language, literacy and numeracy skills. Without these basic skills, it is difficult for people to further develop vocational skills in a working environment that is becoming increasingly technical.

There does need to be a fundemental shift away from the current socio-cultural contextualisation of student needs to a model that concentrates on the development of essential skills that are applicable to the rigours of working life needed to ensure that kiddies develop the required essential skills.

**End rant and pack away soapbox**

Jazz Jazz 1:59 pm 31 Jan 08

yeah it does gun street girl. which is why i’m surprised that the govt feels it needs focus. surely a better approach is to broaden the curriculum to cover subjects that interest students that arent academically gifted or inclined. more a carrot, than a stick approach.

hell, even a pop culture subject could seed elements of marketing or fashion skills development

gun street girl gun street girl 1:02 pm 31 Jan 08

Doesn’t the ACT already have the highest school retention rates in the country? I would attribute that in part to the college system (which, presumably, will be totally screwed with if Andrew Barr gets his wish for a national curriculum).

Sands Sands 12:46 pm 31 Jan 08

I reckon it means that too much focus has been put on keeping kids in school for the sake of it rather than letting them explore ‘non-academic’ choices.

We shouldn’t be forcing kids to stay in school if they’re miserable, hate it or aren’t learning. And as per previous threads, kids like that disrupt the experience for the kids that do want to be there and are learning.

I left before year 12, travelled a bit, did ‘year 13’ at tafe, went to uni and now I’m all edumacated. But I did it at my own pace and nobody forced me to stay or leave.

Jonathon Reynolds Jonathon Reynolds 12:32 pm 31 Jan 08

Hopefully it will catch the individuals who drop out of the system because they are not academically inclined and offer them real “life skills” to better prepare themselves for the workforce (put them in a better position to undertake more than just menial roles).

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