From Sept 2013 the law was changed so that young people are required to participate in education, employment or training until the age of 18.
This change was introduced to improve the career and life prospects for young people.
There are various advantages to remaining in education or training for longer:
Young people can develop a greater range of skills
The likelihood of unemployment is significantly reduced
An increase in earning potential
It offers young people who are disengaged from mainstream education to develop new skills in an alternative setting.
The latest figure (June 2017) for 16 & 17 year olds participating in education and training shows an increase on the previous year to 89.4%, which is closer to the historical rate. The percentage of 17 year old cohort is low at 84.2% whilst the 16 year old cohort is at 94.2%.