If you have a child who is unhappy or struggling at school or college, you may be asking yourself ‘when can my child leave school?’. As a parent, your overriding need is to make your children happy and to protect them from anything that brings them distress, so it’s only natural that if your child is unhappy with traditional education you might start to look at what other options you have.
It is important to remember that in this day and age, if your child leaves school, it doesn’t mean their education has to stop there. There are many alternate options you can look at, which we will cover later on in this blog.
First though, as a parent, you need to look at the legalities of your child leaving school. If you are living in England, the Government requirements for legally leaving school for a child are as follows:
You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays.
You must then do one of the following until you’re 18:
- stay in full-time education, for example at a college
- start an apprenticeship or traineeship
- spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training
When it comes to other parts of the UK and the rest of the world, it’s best to check what the legal requirements are for school leavers before you make your decision.
Full time Education
Just because your child has left school, it doesn’t mean they want to stop studying and learning. So the options for continuing their education is still there. Depending on where you live in the country, there are lots of community colleges that may have just the courses and more relaxed learning environment your child wants and needs. So do some research and contact your local school authority to see what options there are.
Apprenticeships or Traineeships
Apprenticeships are job specific practical training programmes where students get to study alongside being paid. Unlike learning in school or college, the students get to work alongside experienced staff and then also get time to study the qualifications they need relating to the role.
An Apprenticeship is a great way for students to get both practical experience and qualifications in a real working environment.
Traineeships are the stage before becoming an Apprentice, they give the student a chance to experience what an Apprenticeship will be like and usually lasts for 6 months before the student then joins the Apprenticeship programme.
Part-time Education or Training
If your child would rather just get going with working and earning for themselves, then part-time education or training is ideal. They can work in a job of their choice and then study when they aren’t working. This allows them an element of freedom and the chance to work out exactly what they want to do for a career.
There are many online colleges that offer courses which can be studied part-time and online or in person to allow for this combination of working and study.