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Education Maintenance Allowance

Part of Opposition Day — [9th allotted day] – in the House of Commons at 2:15 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education 2:15 pm, 19th January 2011

I want to make some progress.

On travel, it is important that we recognise that local authorities are under a statutory duty to support young people aged between 16 and 19, and, up to the age of 24, any young learner with learning difficulties, to get to school or college. It is the law. Local authorities are failing in their statutory duty if they do not provide support. The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 strengthened that duty. Local authorities must consult young people and their parents, publish an appropriate plan and ensure that there is access.

I appreciate that local authorities, like all of us, are having to deal with the consequences of the desperate financial mess the previous Government bequeathed us, but the best local authorities are showing the way. Oxfordshire provides transport and totally waives the cost for any student whose family is in receipt of income support, housing benefit, free school meals or council tax benefit. Essex waives travel costs for children in receipt of a range of benefits. In Liberal Democrat-controlled Hull, any student in receipt of education maintenance allowance also receives a travel grant to cope with the full cost-