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Stay on in learning or training post 16

Stay on in learning or training post 16

What is Raising the Participation Age (RPA)?

Raising the Participation Age (RPA) is the Government’s policy which sets out a new requirement for young people to continue in education or training after the age of 16. Pupils will need to continue until at least their 18th birthday.

If a student has not achieved a C or above in GCSE Maths and/or English by the age of 16 they must continue with this subject in their further education or training.

By staying in education and training you can gain the qualifications and skills you need to help you to succeed. Advantages include:

  • making it easier to find and stay in a job

  • having the ability to earn and give you a greater choice of career path

  • being able to compete in the future local job market

  • providing pathways to opportunities where you can develop your qualifications and skills further in order to support your future career aspirations for example: higher education (university), higher apprenticeships, setting up your own business.

You will also have a greater chance to develop the knowledge and practical skills that employers are looking for. This means you will find it easier to get a better job, with better pay and career prospects.

The government recognises that school isn’t for everyone so continuing in education or training can mean:   

  • Full time education (school, college or independent provider for at least 540 hours)

  • An apprenticeship

  • Full-time work, including at least 280 hours of accredited education over the year

  • Part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering full-time (which is defined as 20 hours or more a week).

Advice and guidance on the full range of options open to you will be available through your school, young people's careers helpline or online resources. Talk to your teachers about accessing face-to-face advice if you need help thinking through the pros and cons of different options.

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more information about raising the participation age on The Department for Education pages on GOV.UK. 


  • RPA Newsletter - October 2015 [PDF, 571Kb]

Other sites of interest

Contact details


01724 298554

Information, Advice & Guidance Team
Church Square House
30-40 High Street
DN15 6NL

Opening hours

Monday to Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Friday: 9am to 4.30pm

Last updated: 30/09/2015
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