Year 11 pupils

Since 2013, the Government has changed the law for current Year 11 pupils who are leaving school. We've gathered together the most common questions we are asked about and if you'd like to know anything else about this, just email us at

I am in Year 11 now and due to leave school this summer. Can I still leave?
Yes you can still leave school but you must choose from one of the following options:

  • work-based learning (including an Apprenticeship or Advanced Apprenticeship)
  • full-time work, self employment or volunteering, as long as you also undertake part-time training leading to an accredited qualification
  • full-time education

What if I have found some full-time work but my employer does not offer accredited qualifications?
That's OK. Your employer can work with a local training provider or college to deliver and accredit your qualifications. If you are aged 16 to 18, this will not cost your employer anything, because the Government will pay.

What if I work shifts?
Don't worry. Training providers and colleges understand the needs of employers and will work with you and your employer to make sure everything fits in.

Why does the Government want me to take accredited qualifications?
Having accredited qualifications will make you more employable and help you progress your career or change jobs.

Some people are telling me that I will have to stay on in school. Is this true?
No, this is not true. The new rules are about participation in any one of the options listed above, staying on in school in just one of your options. This is not a raising of the school leaving age, however from 2015 the age will rise again and young people will have stay in participation until their 18th birthday or until they achieve a Level 3 qualification.

What is a Level 3 qualification equivalent to?
Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to 2 A-levels.

I have been told that I will be fined if I don't participate. Is this true?
No, the Government initially said they would fine young people who did not comply with this law. However, they agreed to delay this decision and will review it every year after 2014.

What if I want to start a programme with a training provider or college but I really can't afford to, and so may need to find paid work instead?
Training providers and colleges have access to a bursary fund called the '16-19 Bursary Fund'. The fund is designed to make sure that the young people who need it most receive more, so ask about this to find out if you are eligible.

How long must I stay in participation?
From 2015, the age will rise from 17 and young people will have stay in participation until their 18th birthday, or until they achieve a Level 3 qualification.