Message to Parents/Carers - from the Minister of Education

To all Parents/Carers of students starting Year 7 from 2008

As your child is going through the transition into secondary education you may be thinking particularly hard about their future education. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you now about changes being brought about by the Education and Skills Bill. Subjected to approval by Parliament, new reforms will increase the minimum age at which young people can leave learning to 17 from 2013, and 18 from 2015.

Your child’s year group is the first cohort that will be directly affected by this change and will benefit from the expectation that everyone will stay on until they are at least 17. Young people will be able to participate in a number of ways, such as continuing in full-time education, including school or college, work-based learning, such as an Apprenticeship, or part-time education or training, alongside a full time job.

All young people have the opportunity to get involved in something valuable and engaging. By 2013 there will be a new curriculum and qualifications offer that will provide the right learning opportunity for every young person, including an entitlement to study new Diplomas at three different levels and a commitment to provide an apprenticeship place for all young people who want one and meet the entry requirements. There will be improved careers advice and support services to make sure all parents and young people have the information they need to make the right choices, and financial and other forms of support will be developed to make sure they do not form barriers to young people accessing provision.

This is a really exciting time in the development of the educational offer for young people and your child is going to be among the first cohort to benefit from of these changes. As your child makes the move into secondary school it is often helpful to talk with them about what they might want to do and the opportunities for them ahead.