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Beyond school

​Your child may choose to leave school when they reach the age of 16.

In Scotland, if your child's 16th birthday falls within or between March and September, they can leave school in the May of that year. If their birthday falls between October and February, they can leave at the start of the winter holidays.

Alternatively, your child may choose to stay at school for (up to) an additional two years before leaving school.

By the time that your child leaves school, they will have gained skills and knowledge that will prepare them for the world beyond school. Even though they are leaving school, it's important that their education continues to be designed and developed around them as an individual.

At all stages of your child's education, your support plays a vital role. It is important that you continue to make a positive difference to your child's learning by supporting and encouraging them at this time.

Find out about post-16 opportunities available to allow your child to continue their education or plan/start a career, including links to organisations that can best support you and your child at this point in their life.

Additional support needs

Some young people require support that is in addition to, or different from young people of the same age to ensure they benefit from education. If your child has additional support needs, planning for big changes like leaving school is particularly important. Transition planning should start as early as possible to help your child make informed decisions and to ensure that any support they require can be arranged for when they leave school.

Further information is available in Enquire's factsheet on what should happen once a child with additional support for learning reaches age 16.

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