§ Mr. Madel
As there are three terms in the academic year, could not there be three leaving dates? May I draw to my right hon. Friend's attention the children whose sixteenth birthday falls in the early part of September 1973 and who have been offered a job on 1st January but cannot take it up because they cannot leave school until Easter 1974?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
Yes, there are particular hard cases which would have occurred almost wherever we had set the date for school leaving. It is a problem and very hard luck on those who fall just on the wrong side of the line. It would be unwise to return to having three school leaving dates because it would be difficult to arrange a relevant curriculum for just one term, and a great deal of the good work done by raising the school leaving age would be undone.