Education Maintenance Allowance

Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 19th October 2009.

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Photo of Paddy Tipping Paddy Tipping Labour, Sherwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will estimate the cost of extending education maintenance allowance to all school leavers entering further education; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Iain Wright Iain Wright Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships)

EMA was introduced as an incentive to encourage more young people from lower income households to stay on in post compulsory learning, and to address the issue that the UK had one of the lowest post-16 participation rates in OECD countries. The scheme was piloted from 1999 and rolled out nationally, to consecutive cohorts of learners in full-time education, from September 2004. It was extended to trainees in unwaged training provision in 2006.

We have previously estimated that, to have made the lowest level of EMA (the £10 per week payment) available to all learners not already receiving it would have increased expenditure by around £300 million in the 2007/08 academic year. We have not estimated the cost for 2009/10 and do not plan to do so. We believe that, to be effective, state support needs to be targeted where there is most need.

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