Clarke Launches cash incentives for over-16s

    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
    account.

    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
    earning.”

    EMA application forms can be picked up from schools, sixth form
    colleges or branches of Connexions.

    – For more information go to www.dfes.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2004_0053

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