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School leaving age to jump to 17

By johnboy 15 April 2009 26

[First filed: April 14, 2009 @ 09:55]

Very very quietly, without a media release, the ACT Department of Education and Training has slipped out it’s “Pathways to the future” paper.

The paper is dated February 2009, but the DET website reckons it was released on the ninth of this month.

The Canberra Times, however, is now onto it.

Essentially the school leaving age is now being raised to 17, from 15.

    ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr said the Government would table its legislation in the Legislative Assembly’s spring sittings after issuing a community consultation paper yesterday which saw general support for the scheme.

    The legislation will affect about 900 ACT young people who leave school each year before completing their Year 12 Certificate.

For some reason we’re in a rush to pre-empt negotiations on a national school leaving age.

This from the ES of the paper:

    Community feedback showed little support for changing the compulsory school leaving age, but strong support in favour of the introduction of a compulsory participation age of 17, where young people would be supported to remain in education, training or work.

So the kids the education system has already failed will be forced to endure another two years of it so that we feel better about it?

On the plus side we’ll keep the rising unemployment down a bit by whacking the kids.

UPDATED: The Liberals’ Steve Doszpot is concerned:

    “The Minister must inform the community where the extra spending will come from to support the increased number of young people who will need to remain in school or in other forms of study.

    “Some of the key aspects missing from the Government’s plans are: Where will the additional budget required to cope with the 900 students come from? How will class sizes be reduced, and how many additional teachers will be required to implement these plans?

    “Mr Barr must also assure teachers from colleges and vocational training centres like the CIT, they will not be over-stretched and under pressure from this proposed increase in student numbers.

FURTHER UPDATE: Andrew Barr’s office has this morning put a media release online dated 13 April explaining how it’s the community that wants him to do this:

    “The community response to the ACT Government’s Pathways to the Future consultation paper is clear,” Mr Barr said. “Submissions showed strong support for the introduction of a compulsory participation age of 17, where young people would be required and supported to stay in education, training or work.
    “Going on to Year 12 or to university is not the best choice for all students. We recognise this but want to ensure every young Canberran is studying, training or working after Year 10 in a way that suits their needs, abilities and their plans for the future.

    “Labor’s plan will be good for the economy in the long term and will help make sure kids who don’t go to Year 12 or university don’t get left behind.”

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26 Responses to
School leaving age to jump to 17
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joy123 12:56 am 16 Apr 09

As I said before only males gain from leaving school early and getting into a trade, NOT females, If you are a female and you are a professional and haven’t reached the top by twenty six, you have hit the glass ceiling and won’t go any further, its a mans world still, the only other female profession, is a working girl who can make more then a lawyer

nyssa76 7:52 pm 15 Apr 09

One question, which begs to be asked – who will maintain a database etc to make sure that ALL 15-17yos are either at school, in a trade or working full time?

I’d also like to know where the money for this will come from and what penalties will be enforced if parents/carers don’t ‘encourage’ their sprogs to do any of the 3 options.

neanderthalsis 11:03 am 15 Apr 09

The main push for increased school leaving ages has come from the feds. One of the central foci of the much vaunted Education revolution was to have 90% of all under 24s with a school leaving certificate or a Cert III level qualification. One of the earlier COAG communiques had a decision by all Ministers to increase retention and qualifications levels of youth.

ACT is actually behind the ball on this one, most other States have had a similar scheme going for some time. QLD was first back with the ETRF in 2004, the rest have followed suite.

Given the current economic climate, I would think that the higher your level of qualification, the more employable you will be when you get out into the labour market.

Inappropriate 10:47 am 15 Apr 09

shauno said :

This is just silly. My mate left school after year 10 at the age of 16 and became a apprentice mechanic and did really well out of it. Now if he couldn’t leave until 17 he would have had to go to year 11 and in that case you may as well go on to year 12. So what is this going to do to the amount of apprentices coming though the system??

Your mate would be fine. You’re allowed to leave school to do an apprenticeship, you’re just not allowed to leave and sit on your arse before 17yrs old.

deezagood 10:31 am 15 Apr 09

I think the new vocational/traineeship schemes might make an extended stay at school more tolerable for students who are not academically inclined, and may result in greater numbers of students leaving with at least some sort of skill-set that can be transferred to the workforce. The vast majority of kids stay until year 12 these days anyway, so maybe this initiative will help to upskill those kids who may have fallen through the cracks by leaving school at year 10 without any real ability to gain employment.

RayP 10:13 am 15 Apr 09

It is interesting that in her article in the Canberra Times that Emma MacDonald assumes that because Mr Barr says he is going to table legislation in the Assembly that this means the legislation will be passed as if the Government had a majority.

She confidently states that “From the start of next year, all ACT residents under 17 will be required by law to be enrolled in school, learning a trade or working, as the ACT changes its minimum school leaving age from 15 to a ”learning or earning” age of 17″.

This doesn’t seem to take into account the results of the last election and that the Government no longer has a majority.

The Government, like the Liberals and the Greens, can announce that they are going to propose legislation to the Assembly.

What will then happen to that legislation, whether it will be passed, rejected, or amended into something quite different, seems to be anyone’s guess.

This legislation seems to raise a lot of issues. It might not be surprising if it was referred to a committee for further consultation.

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