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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 18:21 GMT
Canada impresses Alan Johnson
teenage group
Mr Johnson is said to be looking at ways to raise the school leaving age
As the Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, looks at ways of raising the compulsory school leaving age in England, he has apparently drawn some inspiration from Canada.

In September, Mr Johnson visited the province of Ontario.

He was encouraged by schemes there to encourage young people to stay on at school or in training until they are 18.

One major step is to introduce legislation whereby young people under the age of 18 cannot apply for a driving licence or take a driver's examination unless they are at school or in training.

If passed, the Learning to Age 18 Act - which is currently before legislators - will also give a court the authority to suspend the driving licence of an individual who is convicted of being habitually absent from school.

It will also raise the school leaving age from 16 to 18 or until graduation.

And fines for offences related to non-attendance at school will increase from $200 (approximately 93) to $1,000 (approximately 463).

Drive to improve "staying on" rates

Alarmed by the fact that over 30% of its young people were leaving school without a diploma, the Ontario government pledged to improve staying on rates.

High school graduation rates in Ontario have risen from 68% in 2003-04 to 71% in 2004-05.

The government's goal is that, by 2010-11, 85% of Ontario students will graduate from high school.

The province has also come up with a scheme called "6 Ways" - six ways to help students graduate.

The aim is to give Ontario high school (the equivalent of secondary school) students more ways to accumulate credits to graduate and it allows students to customise their high school learning.

One of the "six ways" gives every high school student in Ontario the chance to consult a student success team.

These teams give special support struggling students, provide more options for learning and monitor student progress.

And a new credit system means pupils can earn two compulsory high school credits of their core 18 through hands-on work experience.

The aim is to give more students a chance to start working and "test-drive" career options.

Students who are at risk of losing credits are given extra support to stay on in school through "lighthouse projects".

"Every student is an individual," says the Ontario Ministry of Education.

"Each has unique interests, goals, and strengths. And each should be given the same opportunity to succeed in high school."




SEE ALSO
School leaving age may be raised
10 Nov 06 |  Education
Schools to get 50m for diplomas
12 Apr 06 |  Education
More youths not in school or work
08 Jun 06 |  Education
School drop-outs 'key to access'
20 Jan 05 |  Education
Apprenticeship scheme praised
20 Oct 06 |  Education

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