Staying on success: Minister hails success of education allowance

Jim KnightMore young people in North East are staying on in education or training after their GCSEs thanks to the success of a new allowance, an Education Minister said today.

The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) was launched by the Labour Government across England in 2004 to support young people from low and middle income families who stay on in full-time education at 16. 

Latest figures show that 32,095 young people in the North East are getting the allowance this year – up from 19,409 in 2004. Weekly payments of £10, £20 or £30 – depending on family income - are made so long as young people regularly attend their course and work hard. Young people receiving EMA must sign a contract with their school or college – and payments are linked to attendance and behaviour.

Jim Knight, Minister of State for Schools and Learners commented;

“Labour's Education Maintenance Allowances are helping young people across the country to continue learning after their GCSEs. It’s really encouraging to see the positive impact EMAs have already had. This year over 32,000 young people in North East are getting EMAs, giving them the chance to stay on in education and training so they have more opportunity of getting the job they want in future.

“While the Tories refuse to support the future of this scheme, Labour are building on its success. From this September, all 16 year olds receiving the EMA will be given a firm guarantee of the minimum level of financial support they would get if they go onto higher education.”

The news comes as independent reports from the Institute of Fiscal Studies and research company RCU show that the EMA has encouraged thousands of young people to stay on in education, who would not have done so without the financial support and incentive. 

More information about how to claim EMA can be found by visiting or calling the EMA hotline on 0800 121 8989.


Editor’s Notes:

Questioner:  On the EMA, which is an issue of concern for a few people in this room, what’s your commitment on that?
David Cameron:  Well we’re in a state of quite severe flux on this whole area of 16 to 18 education, so I can’t give you a straight answer on that.David Cameron, Q&A at the Young Foundation, 13 November 2007