Young people are to begiven financial incentives to stay in
education, the government has announced.
From September, students in England who continue with their
education after Year 11 could be entitled to weekly payments in the
form of an education maintenance allowance (EMA).
Young people from households with incomes of £30,000 or
less will be eligible for means-tested payments of between £10
and £30 a week, which will be paid directly into their bank
The government expects around 353,000 young people – more than
half of all 16-year-olds – to be eligible for EMA in 2004-5. It
anticipates that by 2006-7 an extra 72,000 young people will be
participating in further education every year.
The roll out of the initiative follows a successful pilot phase
involving 56 local education authorities. Evaluation of the pilots
by Loughborough University found that the number of 16-year-olds
from the lowest socio-economic group who stayed in education
increased by around 10 per cent as a result of EMA.
However, education secretary Charles Clarke warned that EMA was
not money for nothing. “The weekly payments depend on the young
person being able to demonstrate that they are committed to turning
up and working hard. If you stop learning, then you stop
EMA application forms can be picked up from schools, sixth form
colleges or branches of Connexions.