The Legal Age to Leave School

There are different kinds of law. The legal age to leave school is classified as a statute law. Statute law is written law. Common law is basic law, e.g. it is illegal to murder a person. Another kind of law is tribal/customary law which is still in place amongst Aboriginal tribes in Australia. The Law under which the Australian government operates is called The Constitution. To change the constitution a national vote needs to be conducted which is called a referendum. In the referendum, 50% of Australia needs to vote ???yes??™ for the change to the constitution to be successful. In the first reading of the bill, the member of the parliament who has written the bill introduces it to the parliament. At the First Reading, only the title of the bill is read out loud. Copies of the bill are also given to each of the Members of Parliament to read. If the parliaments want to change or introduce a statute law, a bill needs to be drafted, which is a proposal for a new law or to change an existing law.

Laws are changed all the time to improve access to justice. This helps the government cater for the changing society. One of the laws that were changed in the past 10 years was the legal age to leave school. In May 2009, a new law was passed by the Parliament of NSW stating that all students must remain at school until the age of 17. All students in NSW must complete year 10. After that until the age of 17, they should either be in school or be registered for home schooling, be in approved education or training (TAFE, apprenticeship etc.), be in full time paid employment (25hrs/week) or in a combination of the three options.

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The Legal Age To Leave School

At the Second Reading, the member who introduced the Bill explains the reasons for and purposes of the purposed law. At this stage members of the House can ask questions and ask for further explanations. At this stage, Amendments can also be proposed; in this case the house can go into a ???committee stage??™, where details of the Bill are debated until the majority is happy with it. At the end, the members vote on the bill and if it is passed, a third reading is held. In the Senate, the Bill goes through the same process again. If any amendment is made at this stage it needs to be sent back to the lower court for them to agree on. The bill goes back and forth until both the Senate and the House of Representatives agree on it. During the third reading, the House votes on the Bill. Once the Bill is passed, it is sent to the Senate for further consideration. Any amendments that were made are shown in the new version of the Bill.

After both houses agree on the bill, it is presented to the Governor General. It is then the Governor General??™s responsibility to ???assent??™ the law, which means to give it the queen??™s seal of approval. On this day the bill turns into the law. To pass a bill through state Parliament, a similar process takes place. Some states do not have an upper house so the bill might only need to pass through a lower house. By Kanchan Kaler Yr. 10 Commerce

The Legal Age To Leave School is a law that affects a lot of young adolescents and their parents or carers. ???Raising the leaving age for school students will not only benefit them later in life, but will transform NSW into the “clever state” and boost the economy??? Premier Nathan Rees said to The Age in January 2009. This change revoked any student rights to leave school at the age of 15, which had been in place for about 50 years. Results from the Australian Bereau of Statistics showed that early school leavers are 2.5 times more likely to be unemployed. Education contributes to economic growth and improves individual wellbeing. It also helps in maintaining a strong and positive social environment. Higher levels of education are related to higher wages and more employment opportunities ???That extra year gives you everything. It helps your maturity levels and skills so much.??™ Another teacher said.

The raise in the age to leave school has resulted in about 8,900 students per year staying in school or in vocational education and training. To provide for the education of additional 8,900 students per year puts pressure on the system, especially since we already have an inadequate amount of teachers and counsellors. There has been a demand for at least 700 new teachers and 150 support staff. Research by the Australian Academics, Karmel and Nguyen showed that women who complete year 12 are 14% more likely to be employed than those who do not complete it and that, on average, earn 8% more. The Bereau of Crime Statistics and Research suggests that the longer a person is at school, the less chances of criminal conviction or imprisonment. According to a research conducted by Access Economics, on average, early school leavers will earn lower wages and are more likely to be unemployed for periods of their lives.
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An estimated cost to supply for these students at school or TAFE is about $98 million per year. Changes to the curriculum also needed to be made to cater for the less academic students. But if the number of early school leavers is halved by the year 2050, according to Applied Economics NSW would gain about $1.5 billion to $2.7 billion.

Out of the students I surveyed, only a small minority disagreed with the change. ???Changing the school leaving age has only stopped me from going to TAFE and doing what I want to do.??? one yr.10 Wade High student said. The survey conducted among teachers showed that 60% actually disagreed with the change. ???School isn??™t for everyone.??? ???They are wasting our time and their time.??? These were just some of the comments, the teachers that dislike the change made.

In conclusion, a lot more resources are needed to ensure that the quality of public education that students receive is upto set standards. On the other hand, completing high school can set you up for a brighter future by opening up pathways to higher education and more employment opportunities. It decreases the rate of unemployment and increases the standard of living. I believe that the change to the legal school age will benefit Australia??™s long term future.

By Kanchan Kaler

Yr. 10 Commerce


By Kanchan Kaler

Yr. 10 Commerce

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