Anorak News | Mature Students

Mature Students

by | 12th, January 2007

THE good news is that when you legally leave school you will be able to buy a packet of cigarettes and a bottle of cider to celebrate.

You will be able to appear before an adult court, get married without your parents’ consent, vote, place a bet in a super casino, buy fireworks, change your name and apply for a mortgage.


The less good news is that you will 18 years old. As the Times’ front page announces: “School leaving age goes up to 18.”

Of course, you can join the Army at 16 and learn how to kill, and for many this will be an attractive option, preferable to more hours in the classroom.

But you will have to so something. Children who do not remain at school beyond their 16th birthdays will either be made to go to college or take a job with a guaranteed training scheme.

This is the idea of Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary who left school at 15 with no qualifications. Imagine what he could have made of his life with an A-level in ancient history.

As the Times reports, the change in the law will mean 330,000 teenagers who currently leave school at 16 remaining in a secure institution.

How these extra bodies are catered for will concern Johnson and Gordon Brown, who intends to place this polity at the centre of his “ten-year plan for government”.

Education for Tony. Education for Gordon. Education for one and all. Education all round.

And by way of a lesson in education, the Times gives a history of it. Readers learn that in 1880, children could leave school at 10 years of age; the figure rising to 15 years in 1947 and 16 years in 1972.

So school it is. No dole queues, for you, young man. (The Times says that according to the Office for National Statistics, unemployment among 16 and 17-year-olds has risen from 19.9 per cent in 1997 when Labour came to power to 25.3 per cent now.)

So no striking out on your own, kids. Let the Government curb that entrepreneurial spirit of adventure favoured by people whose exploits fill the history books.

And if you do not attend school until you are 18? Well, there will be consequences. Punishments are being considered. One idea is to follow the example set by the Canadian province of Ontario where anyone not complying with the scheme is banned from driving.

Alternatively, objectors could always be given a gun and sent off to battle…

Posted: 12th, January 2007 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink