What’s Raising the Participation Age (RPA)?

It’s a new government legislation to Raise the Participation Age (RPA) of people in education, to 18 years old. This decision was made as research showed that people with more qualifications earn more than those with less.

How will it affect you?
Since 2014 all young people in England must continue in education or training until their 18th birthday. This will affect students who are currently in Year 11 or below.

Will you have to stay on at school?
No, raising the age to 18 does not mean you have to stay in school sixth form. There are plenty of other options that you can take to ensure that you adhere to the new 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.

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. 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. Studying at college also means fewer exams compared to sixth form.

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 or 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.

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 01606 74444 to make an appointment.

Interested in College?
Why not browse our Course Areas to find out more about what we offer and why we are one of the most successful General FE Colleges in the country.