A new age dawns in school education next year when the leaving age changes so that all students in NSW complete Year 10.
Public schools are now preparing for the extra students, teachers, classrooms and computers that will flow from what the Premier, Nathan Rees, has described as one of the most fundamental changes in education in 60 years.
"By increasing the school leaving age [from 15 to 17 years] we are creating a flexible, skilled and educated workforce," he said.
Australian and international research shows that teenagers who leave school early are two and a half times more likely to be unemployed, earn lower wages and have poorer health.
From January 2010, all NSW students have to finish Year 10 and then continue in education and training, be in full-time work (an average of 25 hours a week), or a combination of education/training and employment until the age of 17.
Check out the Department of Education and Training's website The New School Leaving Age - a guide for parents to watch a vodcast and access information, including options for study and training, useful resources and frequently asked questions.