30 July 2007

Educational Conscription Will Cause Mass Truancy

Cross-posted from The ThunderDragon:

Labour's plan to force children to stay in school until 18 is a bad idea, and it is now claimed by Geraldine Everett, chairman of the Professional Association of Teachers that it will cause "mass truancy":

"Extending the school leaving age is a potential minefield if not handled sensitively...
Here is a Government that has toyed with the idea of lowering the voting age to 16 in order to promote a greater sense of citizenship amongst our young people.
Yet it proposes to extend compulsory education or training to 18, to compel the already disaffected to, in their perception, prolong the agony...
Enforcement could lead to mass truancy, further disruption to other learners and staff, maybe even needless criminalisation if ‘enforcement measures’ are imposed."
I have argued against this plan many times - back in November when it was first proposed, in January when it put forward as a plan, and again in March when it was released as a green paper. This group blog, Educational Conscription, was also set up to argue against the plan.

Many school leavers go into work at minimum wage levels and work their way up - supermarket/retail work being a prime example. If they have to provide specific and tailored accredited training to these people, I doubt many shops will bother.

Quite simply, those who want to continue to learn already continue to stay on in school. It doesn't cost them any money, unlike university, so finances play little part in their decisions - that will be down to not wanting to go to school any more.

Those who want to study, will. Those who don't will either go and disrupt everyone else who want to learn or just play truant, and face a fine and possible criminal record - something that is unlikely to aid them in getting a job. Instead of making them stay in education now, make it easier for them to return to adult education, when they want to learn.



yo said...

But staying at school increases your chance of success.

ThunderDragon said...

FORCING them to stay on will help no-one. They already CAN stay on if they want to, at no cost to them.

If they don't WANT to stay on, conscripting them to so will not make them learn any more.

Far better to just put the money into providing adult learning opportunities for them when they decide that they DO want to learn more.

MJW said...

Perhaps if the Government hadn’t made such a mess with its one size fits all educational ideology (an ideology its own members have opted out of for their own kids with a frequency that doesn’t lend confidence) then we’d have a better mix of education and training opportunities available to school leavers that would cut down the growing problem of “neets” which this is new initiative is rather bluntly trying to resolve?