Weekly allowance boosts teenagers’ interest in education

The introduction of the Education Maintenance Allowance has helped more 16- to 19-year-olds remain in education, official results reveal.

The final evaluation report on the EMA pilots finds that the number of 16- and 17-year-olds in full-time education increased by 6.1% in pilot areas, with this figure rising to 8.6% for young men.

The biggest impact was on young people whose parents are unemployed or involved in semi or unskilled work, where the number of 16- and 17-year-olds in full-time education was 9.1% higher than in control areas.

The means-tested allowance also had an impact on young people who were low or moderate achievers at the end of year 11. Worth between £10 and £30 a week, the allowance saw the number of young people who would otherwise have not entered education, employment or training fall in pilot areas by 2.4%.

But despite the pilots’ findings, government figures published two months ago show only a 1% rise in the number of sixth formers since the allowance was rolled out.

Department for Education statistics show that only three-quarters of 16- to 18-year olds are in education or training, against a target of 90% by 2015. One in 10 remain not in education, employment or training.

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