School leaving age

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Broader terms

Scope note / definition

A person begins to be of compulsory school age on the prescribed day which either falls on or follows a person's fifth birthday. The prescribed days are currently 31st August, 31st December and 31st March, ie the term following the person's fifth birthday. A person ceases to be of compulsory school age on the school leaving date in the academic year in which they turns 16. The school leaving date is currently set as the last Friday in June. Raising the participation age (RPA, as set out in Chapter 1 of the Education and Skills Act 2008) does not affect the compulsory school age. However, its effect is that a person who ceased to be of compulsory school age but has not yet reached the age of 18 (or attained a level 3 qualification), is under a duty to participate in education or training. Source: DfE lawyers 2011-10-17