Updated Wednesday 18 January, 2017 by

Raising the Participation Age (RPA)

What is RPA?

The Government has changed the law so that all young people are required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday.

The information here will help you to understand what this means for you and your child.

RPA does not necessarily mean staying in school; young people have a choice about how they continue in education or training post-16, which could be through:

• Full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider.
• Full-time work or volunteering combined with part-time education or training.
• An Apprenticeship 

Why have you changed things?

The vast majority of 16 and 17 year olds already continue in some form of education or training. However, the small group of young people not participating includes some of the most vulnerable. We want to give all young people the opportunity to develop the skills they need for adult life and to achieve their full potential.

What does this mean for me?

The legal requirement to participate is on your son or daughter. This is because we know that, at 16, young people are starting to make – and take responsibility for – the decisions that affect their future. The Government is investing more than ever to provide fully-funded education and training places for all 16-19 year-olds who want to take them.

We know that you will be providing support and guidance to your child as they make these important decisions about their future, but there are also other sources of help.

The law has changed to make schools responsible for securing independent careers guidance for their pupils in years 8-13. This is because we think your child’s school or college is best placed to secure the advice and support they need to help them decide what option is best for them. Your child can also contact trained advisers for impartial advice at the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 (open from 8.00am to 10pm, seven days a week) – and they can use the web-chat service by accessing the website

Each Local Authority is responsible for making sure all young people have a suitable offer of a place in education or training.  Contact Doncaster Council (Participation & Transition Service) for more information - 01302 862150.

What happens if my child doesn’t participate?

The law has changed, but there will be no action taken against any young people who don’t participate. We want to encourage your child to participate because of the benefits it will bring – this is the reason why the vast majority of 16 and 17 year-olds already choose to continue in education or training. By changing the law, we have made sure that all young people have the opportunity to access the learning option that’s right for them and improve their long-term prospects.


RPA does NOT mean you have to stay on at school after Year 11

  • Continue in full-time education either sixth form or college.
  • Work for an employer or do an apprenticeship.
  • Be self employed or take part in voluntary work.

Did you know?

  • If you work more than 20 hours per week then you will have to do some part-time quality education or training.
  • Staying in learning and training gives you the best chance of getting a good job, new skills and qualifications

Parents FAQ’s

  • My Son/Daughter has just left employment, education, training… what should they do now?

Register with the Participation & Transition (PAT) Service – part of Doncaster Council for support with information, advice and/or guidance about options (including employment, education and training) CV Support, interview techniques etc. Telephone 01302 862150.