Raising the Participation Age (RPA)

The government has increased the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training.

This doesn’t mean that young people must stay in school and it doesn’t mean young people can’t get a job. Young people can still leave school at the end of Year 11, however they must continue to participate in some form of learning until at least their 18th Birthday.

So what are the options?

  • full-time education (eg at a school, college or training provider)
  • an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • part-time education or training combined with one of the following:
    • employment or self-employment for 20 hours or more a week
    • volunteering for 20 hours or more a week

Why is this happening?

Most 16 or 17 year olds already continue in some form of education or training so RPA is not a big change for them. But all young people should have the chance to develop the skills they need for adult life. Continuing in learning will give them as much chance as possible to get the qualifications, the knowledge and the practical skills they need to help them succeed.

Duty to Participate:  Young People

Under Part 1 of Education and Skills Act 2008, young people aged 16 and 17 are under a duty to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday.  The Government want young people to take responsibility for the decisions that affect their own future.

What happens if a young person doesn’t participate?

Leaving education early with few or no qualifications can severely limit a young person’s choices later in life. There is evidence that young people who stay in education or training between 16 and 18 have better chances of future employment, better health and a higher income.

Duty to Participate:  Local Authorities

Local Authorities have a duty to work with partners (including schools, colleges, training providers, employers) to ensure that there are sufficient suitable education and training provision for all 16-18 year olds (up to age 25 with an Education, Health & Care Plan), and to ensure that school leavers (year 11 & year 12) have a suitable offer of a place in learning that leads to a recognised qualification.

Information, advice, guidance and support relating to participation (RPA) is available from the Participation & Transition Service.  We are also responsible for tracking young people’s participation and identifying young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).   Young people who are identified as not participating (NEET) will be contacted by a Participation Adviser who can offer information, advice and guidance around all available options.  

More information is available on the Department for Education Website: Participation of young people: education, employment and training 

Duty to Participate:  Schools, Academies & Learning Providers

Schools, academies and learning providers are required to provide independent and impartial information, advice and guidance on the options available to young people and raise awareness of RPA (particularly to those leaving school at 16).

You can find out more about school’s duties by visiting the careers guidance in schools document.

Duty to Participate:  Parents/Carers

Parents/carers should explore and discuss options, supporting young people in making informed decisions about post 16 pathways.  More information is available on the National Careers Service website.

Financial Support

The Government has committed to fully-funding education and training places for all young people as part of RPA, and there is also financial help available for young people who are struggling with additional costs. The 16-19 Bursary Fund can provide financial support to young people. Under the scheme, schools, colleges and training providers can offer bursaries to young people who are finding it difficult to pay costs like transport, meals or books and equipment.

How can I find out more information?

If you want more information on how RPA affects you, visit Know when you can leave school.   

Also see Local Authority duties relating to participation.

For further help and support around post 16 options (including employment, further education, apprenticeships & training, work experience and volunteering) please contact us:

The Council is committed to meeting its data protection obligations and handling your information securely. You should make sure you read and understand the How we use child and young persons information Privacy Notice, which sets out what you need to know about how Doncaster Council will use your information in the course of our work.

Last updated: 12 April 2019 12:28:52