Statistical bulletin. Education and training. School and University Education in the Community. Full-time Education - school year 1981/82. 1984.1
The changing age-structure of the population, resulting from fluctuations in birth rates in earlier years, continued to have its effect on the number of pupils and students, of which the Community total fell by a further 125 thousand in 1981/82 and was then 1.85 million below the peak in 1976/77. The demographic trends observed in recent years in all Community countries except Ireland have been: 1) a decreasing number of children at the lower end of the school-age range, where full-time education is compulsory, and 2) a growing number of young people aged towards the upper end of the range where, beyond a certain age (varying between countries), full-time education ceases to be compulsory. This increasing number of young people available has at the same time exhibited a tendancy to stay longer in full-time education than formerly, although the age-participation rates cannot be calculated with sufficient accuracy to show changes in the short-term.