The law currently says that you can leave school on the last Friday in June if you are already 16 or will turn 16 during the school holidays.

Changes to the law

The Government is in the process of changing these rules. It means that in England by 2013, all pupils will have to stay in education or training until the end of the school year in which they turn 17 (Year 12).

By 2015, you will have to stay in school until your 18th birthday (Year 13).

If you started secondary school in September 2008, you will be required to stay in school until the end of Year 12, when you will be 17 years old.

What do I do next?

You have a range of choices about what to do next. The important thing is to make sure you move into something that you enjoy and that moves you towards your goals.

Remember: you still get free education until you are 19, or training which will give you a qualification.

Most school leavers will go on to:

  • further education in a college, Sixth Form Centre or school Sixth Form
  • work with training - you could choose to do a Modern Apprenticeship where you study on a part-time basis while working
  • other work or training - you could choose to join a training course or get a job that meets your interests


Once you have finished further education or the Sixth Form, you will reach another key decision point.

At this stage, most people will choose to do one of the following:

  • start working
  • go to university and higher education to study for a degree or masters qualification
  • continue further education to improve their qualification level, for example, taking additional GCSEs or A-levels

This is an important decision for you - talk to your parents or carers, friends and teachers. You can also talk to a Connexions Personal Adviser in school or at the Connexions Centre.

More information on leaving school can be found here.