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Education Maintenance Allowance

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will consider reforming the eligibility criteria for the education maintenance allowance (EMA) to allow children under the age of 16 years who have been advanced one school year or more and are studying at a post-16 educational level to receive the EMA. (205136)

We have no plans to make EMA available to young people under the age of 16. EMA is not based on the academic level a pupil reaches. It is targeted at those who reach the end of their compulsory school phase who have the option of dropping out of learning.

The purpose of EMA is to remove barriers to learning, and increase participation and retention rates among learners who can legally leave education. Therefore, EMA is not available to learners who by law must remain in education.