Leeds nostalgia: The day school leaving age was raised... on this day in 1946

editorial image
Have your say

SEVENTY years ago on this day, some 700 Leeds schoolchildren were leaving school for the last time... aged 14.

The rules around the school leaving age changed in 1946, meaning any child born before April 1, 1947 could leave school at 14. In practical terms, this meant they effectively left school as schools broke up for Chrsitmas.

Anyone born after April 1 would have to remain in education for another year, a fact which was welcomed by many and not just the teachers. Some pupils also expressed an interest in staying on.

One, Donald Russell, of Fenton Street, was forced to leave and take on two jobs: first becoming a sheet metal worker, the second looking after his grandmother.

But others were happy to be leaving. Brian Firth, of Servia Grove, said: “I want to make my own way in life. I want to be a sign-writer.”

Marjorie Smith, of Caledonian Road, left school to make chocolates, while Dennis Heard, of Victoria Place, planned to be a tyre vulcaniser.

One headmaster said: “A surprising number were rather sorry to be going; they realised the value of education, particularly in the ‘teen age.”

The next increase in the school leaving age came in 1973, when the age threshold was raised to 16. In 2015, the age limit was raised again, conditionally, to 18.

In other news, a planned pay rise for police officers was set to cost the city £26,000 a year.

Police constables were set to receive an extra 15s in their pay packets, while sergeants would see a 22s rise. The increase was to be back dated to November 1.

There was broad support for a strike by bus drivers on Christmas Day - most people thought it was reasonable for drivers to expect to spend the day with their families.