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Essay About Education

Is Compulsory Further Education A Help Or A Hindrance?

Here, the question of compulsory education in the UK is examined to form a conclusion as to whether it is more advantageous than the freedom to opt out.

Up until fairly recently in the United Kingdom, the way that secondary schools operated was that all pupils remained in education until the end of their GCSEs, and then they were free to make the decision between continuing in to Sixth Form for A Level study or leaving education completely to begin a life of full time employment at an earlier stage. In recent years, however, this structure has been changed by the government, with all students now being required to continue in full time education until the age 18 unless they can prove that they have organised an official apprenticeship that will eventually lead to employment. There are several different opinions on this change, and the question we are seeking to answer is, is compulsory further education a help or a hindrance?

The most obvious argument in favour of keeping young people in education until the age of 18 is that making A Levels compulsory means that all students will have the opportunity to apply to university, even if at the age of 16 they do not necessarily see this as an attractive option. Advocates of the system would argue that, simply, the more education a young person can experience in their formative years, the more opportunities they are going to have in their adult lives. When you really think about it, 16 years of age is a very young age to be deciding something so important as stopping your education completely. If you are not yet legally old enough to vote in an election or buy an alcoholic beverage, should you be allowed to cut yourself off from full time mainstream education?

The arguments against compulsory further education, however, are equally as valid, with the key point being the fact that, no matter how much they try, some students just are not successfully academic, and therefore an extra two years of class, exam and essay struggle would be nothing but a waste of time in the span of their adult life progress. Certainly, A Levels are a valuable qualification for those who can attain good grades, but no amount of study can rectify the situation for somebody who is not naturally academically gifted, and this extra period of forced education is actually keeping a young person from leaving school and forging their own path in the work environment; a path that they can actually find success on rather than being bottom of the class again and again.

Overall, the question of whether compulsory further education is a good idea or not is something that will never be fully decided on one side of the argument or the other. Whilst I agree that 16 is a rather young age to be making such a life altering decision, I also don’t believe that young people should be forced to continue in education when there might be more appropriate avenues in the world of employment. Ultimately, it all comes down to the individual.

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