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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Raising the school leaving age: participation and policy in historical perspective

This project will examine the raising of the leaving age, concentrating upon the 1960s and 1970s, and will assess both the historical development of the policy and its contemporary implications. It will compare the current focus upon increasing 'participation' in education and training with the historical project of raising the school leaving age ('ROSLA'). The project will offer an historical argument which takes account of the wider context as well as the public debates surrounding the issue. It will start from the hypothesis that the measure was, in broad terms, a 'policy success', in supporting equality of opportunity and social justice more widely. Specifically it will address the following questions:

  1. What were the motivations for, and arguments against, extending the school leaving age?
  2. What were the key issues and contradictions in the development of the policy?
  3. How was the policy conceived and enacted in selected case study areas and what does this reveal about the nature of central policy making?
  4. How can a historical analysis inform contemporary policies in this area?