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Education Maintenance Allowance

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the policy objectives of the educational maintenance allowance were; what evaluation has been undertaken of its performance in meeting those objectives; what the criteria are for receiving the allowance; and if he will make a statement. (158608)

EMA is designed to address the issue that the UK has one of the lowest rates of participation in education among 16-year-olds in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Its aim is to encourage more young people from lower income backgrounds to enter academic or vocational post-compulsory education.

EMA was subject to one of the most comprehensive evaluations of any educational initiative. The results indicated an increase in participation by 16-year-olds of 3.8 per cent. points nationally and 4.1 per cent. points nationally for 17-year-olds.

A young person will be entitled to receive EMA in England in the 2007/08 academic year if they are:

Age 16,17 or 18 and

live in a household with an annual income of £30,810 or less;

Meet the terms of their learning agreement by participating in learning which will never be less than 12 hours of guided learning hours and in most cases will be significantly more.

Their course/programme is level 1-3 with a minimum duration of 10 weeks. Full time education includes Further Education Colleges, School 6th Form and Providers who offer Entry To Employment (E2E) and Programme led Apprentices.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much was allocated to the provision of educational maintenance allowance (EMA) in each financial year since inception including piloting; how many young people received EMA in each year since its inception including piloting; what the impact of compulsory education until 18-years-old is expected to be on the EMA; what plans he has for alternative provision in the light of that policy; and what estimate he has made of the total (a) establishment and (b) annual costs of compulsory schooling to 18 years. (158609)

The numbers of young people receiving EMA in each academic year since inception is shown in the table as follows:

Numbers accessing EMA

1999/2000

14,135

2000/01

73,230

2001/02

114,254

2002/03

124,351

2003/04

126,871

2004/05

297,567

2005/06

430,327

2006/07

528,403

Expenditure on education maintenance allowance since its inception in 1999 is shown in the table as follows:

Expenditure

£ million

1999-2000

11

2000-01

52

2001-02

109

2002-03

120

2003-04

142

2004-05

260

2005-06

406.6

2006-07

502.9

Financial support for learning will be restructured when the compulsory participation age is raised to 18, and we are looking at a variety of methods to ensure that this is done in the most effective way to ensure young people are enabled to participate. In doing this we will build on the reforms from the Government’s review of financial support for young people, and the views we gathered in the public consultation on “supporting young people to achieve”.

We will ensure that there is appropriate, engaging and worthwhile provision available to all young people to enable them to participate successfully.

The estimated costs of raising the participation age are set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment published alongside the Green Paper on 22 March. This can be accessed at:

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/RIA%20[FINAL]%20word%20version.pdf

I have placed a copy in the Library of the House. We estimate that there will be one-off costs of around £200 million, made up of £80 million for new buildings and facilities, and £120 million for the training of new staff. We estimate that there will be annual costs of around £740 million on top of costs already factored into achieving our existing aspiration of 90 per cent. participation of 17-year-olds by 2015. This is made up of £590 million in additional participation costs, £50 million in additional funding for local authorities (to run the registration system, to provide additional support and guidance, and to enforce the duty), £10 million in enforcement costs and £90 million in additional costs to support those with Special Educational Needs (SEN).