Raising the Participation Age

What's Raising the Participation Age (RPA)?

It's the recent government legislation to ensure young people stay in education or training until they are 18 years old. Research has shown that people with more qualifications earn more than those with fewer.

How will it affect you?

All young people in England must continue in education or training until the end of the academic year, in which they turn 18. In other words, you will have to stay an extra 2 years in education or training after your GCSEs.

Will you have to stay on at school?

No, you do not have to stay in school sixth form. There are plenty of other options that you can take to ensure that you adhere to the legislation, which includes going to college or starting an Apprenticeship. You are also able to study part-time, as long as you are working or volunteering for more than 20 hours per week.

If you want to progress to University you can still do that via a College vocational course at level 3, which is the equivalent of A Levels, or you can stay at school and complete A Levels.

What's different between college and school?

The difference between college and school is what is learnt and how it’s learnt. School focuses on academic learning, whereas college will provide an education that is as close to what would be learnt within the industry as possible. The skills achieved at college, are the skills that employers need, as students have already gained the practical experience that’s needed for the job, whilst at college. 

How do you decide?

Make sure you thoroughly research the career path that interests you, to find out what kind of qualifications you need. Some jobs will require you to have A-Levels and some may prefer an Apprenticeship of vocational training. Plus, staying on at sixth-form isn't always the best option for you, it depends on whether you're an academic person or what you want to do as a career. If you're more of a practical person, then a college course may suit you better. But either way you can progress to University or into a career.

If you're not sure, you are more than welcome to make an appointment with one of our Careers Advisers, who are able to give you impartial advice on what you can do next. Please call the College on 01322 629400 to make an appointment.

Interested in College?

Why not browse our Course Areas to find out more about what we offer. You can also contact the College and speak to the Course Helpline on 01322 629400. We have three Open Day events every year, why not come along and find out from from our current students, why they chose to come to college.