Age limits – education and training

Throughout the United Kingdom, you are required by law to be in full-time education between the ages of 5 and 16.This is called compulsory school age, though the education does not need to be in school – you can also be educated at home.

The exact point that you can legally leave full-time education will vary depending on whether you are in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Current details are set out on the UK Government website here.

But that is not the end of the story if you live in England. If you were born after 31 August 1997 you will have to stay in education or training until you reach your 18th birthday.

This does not mean that you will have to stay at school until you reach 18. You can choose to do the required education and training in different ways – full-time education such as school or college; an apprenticeship; or part-time education if you are employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

Don’t forget to check out our education and training pages:

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Make the most of education