Order. Before the hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr Meale) presents his petition, may I issue my ritual exhortation to hon. Members, right hon. Members, and even Ministers who are planning to leave the Chamber to do so quickly and quietly, extending the same courtesy to the hon. Member for Mansfield that they would wish in such circumstances to be extended to them?
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker—although I must say that I do not mind if the Secretary of State for Education remains in the Chamber to hear the petition. He is fully aware that the abolition of education maintenance allowance is causing mayhem throughout our education system. Indeed, in North Nottinghamshire, part of which I represent, 74% of students who apply for EMA receive it in one form or another, and in my constituency of Mansfield 64% receive the maximum amount.
The petition, addressed to the honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, states:
The Humble Petition of Stephen Yemm, citizen of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, and others, including 420 other students of West Nottinghamshire College and Queen Elizabeth School, both based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire,
Sheweth, that they are opposed to the axing of the Education Maintenance Allowance which currently helps thousands of young people reach their full potential.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House calls upon the Government not to axe the EMA, but instead to continue with it supporting adult learners through this adult learning grant.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.