Education Leaving Age

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Children, Schools and Families – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 12th November 2007.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 2:30 pm, 12th November 2007

Yes. May I also say that I agree with the hon. Gentleman entirely? If our proposal was to raise the school leaving age to 18, he would be right to criticise us, but it is not: our proposal is to raise the education leaving age. From 2013, we want 16 and 17-year-olds to be in full-time school or college, in work with training or on an apprenticeship. We plan to increase the number of apprenticeships by 92,000 a year by 2013, precisely to achieve what he wants us to achieve. I hope that in tomorrow's Queen's Speech debate, when we can go into this in more detail, I will be able to persuade him, and other Conservative Members, that they are wrong to oppose our proposals on this. They should be supporting us in raising the education leaving age so that we can equip young people in our country for the 21st century.

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