HC Deb 10 June 1976 vol 912 cc747-8W
Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will reduce the school leaving age by one year; and what saving he estimates this would achieve on the basis that 30 per cent. of pupils volunteered to stay at school for another year.

Miss Margaret Jackson

No. The school leaving age was raised only in 1972, and considerable disruption would be caused by reducing it again so soon It would be difficult to quantify the savings that reducing the school leaving age by one year would achieve, although in the longer term it might be possible to make some notional estimate. However, against this would have to be set very considerable additional costs on social services, for example, unemployment and supplementary benefits, which might outweigh the educational savings. The voluntary staying-on rate in the last year before the raising of the school leaving date was in fact nearly 60 per cent. and not 30 per cent., which would indicate that there would he even smaller savings than the question implies.