asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will amend the bursary regulations to take account of the raising of the school leaving age to 16 years, so that pupils under 16 years who are eligible shall continue to qualify for higher school bursaries; and if he will make a statement.
But is not the hon. Gentleman aware that it is prescribed that a pupil must reach school leaving age to qualify for a bursary? The raising of the school leaving age to 16 will mean that the 15-year-olds are no longer eligible. Does not the hon. Gentleman think that it would be a national scandal to deprive 15-year-old boys and girls of the right to qualify for a bursary? Is it not time the hon. Gentleman did something about it?
The bursary is for pupils who would have left school. We have made transitional arrangements for any schoolchildren now aged 15 so that they will not be deprived of the bursary when they reach 16 this year.
I think I am not the only Member who is very confused by the hon. Gentleman's answers. All the statistics show that the main falling-off in schools attendance occurs because of hardship between the school leaving age and the entrance age for higher education. The matter is now a key educational problem. Bursaries should be available. Will the hon. Gentleman clarify what he says about the position and deal with the general situation arising from it?