Raising the participation age

Raising the Participation Age (RPA) is a government policy which requires young people to continue in learning or training after the age of 16. 

Young people who completed year 11 in 2014 and onwards will need to remain in education (not necessarily at school) or training up to the age of 18.

Why the participation age has risen

By staying in education and training young people can get the qualifications and skills they need to help them succeed. This could make it easier for them to find and stay in a job in future.

Choices at 16

There are a range of options young people can choose from when they complete year 11 including:

  • full time education which includes studying at a college, school sixth form or home education
  • an apprenticeship
  • part time education or training if you are employed or self-employed
  • volunteering full time (which is defined as 20 hours or more a week), whilst studying independently

Financial Support

The government provides extra funding to colleges and sixth forms and some learning providers to help young people in need of financial support to stay in learning post 16.

This could help with covering the costs of things such as your transport, books or equipment and costs for trips or visits.

More details on the 16–19 Bursary can be found on GOV.UK