Raising the Participation Age (RPA)

Guidance for professionals, learners and parents about raising the participation age (RPA).

All young people due to leave school in or after June 2014 must continue in training or learning until their 18th birthday. You might hear this called 'raising the participation age' or 'RPA'.

By staying in learning for longer, young people will get all the free education they are entitled to and develop the knowledge and practical skills employers are looking for, helping them to succeed in both work and life.

Where can young people learn?

This 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 or traineeship

Young people can stay in school or learn outside school. But everyone should be able to find an option that suits them: guaranteed. There are lots of choices about what, where and how young people learn. They can learn in full time education e.g. school, college or home tuition, in the workplace or in the community.

What qualifications can they get?

  • GCSEs, AS or A Levels
  • Apprenticeship or other vocational qualification
  • Traineeship

Study Programmes

From September 2013 all students in full or part-time education aged 16 to 19 will be expected to follow a study programme. Find out more about Study Programmes 16-19 in general on the DfE website.

Post-16 GCSE Maths and English

There is a requirement for all students who have not achieved an A*- C GCSE in English or mathematics by age 16 to continue to study towards achieving this level of attainment alongside their studies. To find out more please read this briefing paper - Post -16 English and Maths as part of the 16-19 Study Programmes (pdf format, 118Kb)

Work experience

Study Programmes can include a substantial amount of work experience. There is a guidance paper on Post-16 Work Experience as part of the study programme. Read about the work experience services offered us.

Information leaflets

Please share these with the learners and parents at your school:

Leaflets are also available for employers:


Visit OXME, the Oxfordshire young people’s website, for lots of help and ideas

You may find these websites useful too:

PowerPoint presentations

You can use these presentations at parents meetings and student assemblies.