England

In England, you must stay in some form of education or training until the end of the academic year when you turn 17, if you left year 11 in the summer of 2013.

This doesn’t have to mean only staying in school, it can be:

  • full-time education, eg at a school or college
  • an apprenticeship
  • part-time education or training (as well as being employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week)

You’ll have to stay in some form of education or training until you turn 18, if you started year 11 in September 2013 or later.

Scotland

In Scotland, if you turn 16 between 1 March and 30 September you can leave school after 31 May of that year.

If you turn 16 between 1 October and the end of February you can leave at the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year.

Wales

In Wales, you can leave school on the last Friday in June, as long as you’ll have turned 16 by the end of that school year’s summer holidays.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, if you turn 16 during the school year (between 1 September and 1 July) you can leave school after 30 June.

If you turn 16 between July 2 and August 31, you can’t leave school until June 30 the following year.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.