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ATL: Scrapping EMA will leave vulnerable pupils struggling

21/03/2011 Joanna
Scrapping Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) payments will leave vulnerable pupils struggling to meet their expenses, it has been suggested.

Martin Freedman, head of pay and conditions at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), noted that poorer students were previously entitled to receive £30 per week to help them stay on in school after the age of 16.

However, the government has announced plans to replace the allowance with more targeted support.

"They haven't told us as far as I'm aware, how they will target it. In our view there will be lots of 16-19 year-olds who would have stayed on in education and who £30 would have helped [that] will be forced to leave," Mr Freedman said.

The figures today have shown that youth unemployment is the highest that it's been for 20 years."

He added that if young people leave education, they will find it difficult to secure employment. However, many will not be able to remain in education because they are unable to support themselves.

A number of top British economists last week signed an open letter in the Guardian urging the government to keep EMA.

Posted by Dolcie Thacker
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