Shadow education secretary Andy Burnham has described the government's Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) replacement scheme as a "shambles".
Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, he accused education secretary Michael Gove of taking a successful policy and destroying it.
Mr Burnham argued that EMA payments improved participation, attendance and participation in post-16 education.
The government's new £180 million bursary scheme is made up of two parts. Schools will be given a discretionary fund to distribute to vulnerable children as they see fit. In addition, youngsters in care, care leavers and those on income support will be entitled to guaranteed bursaries of £1,200 a year.
Commenting on the new scheme, Mr Gove said the fund will ensure that the most vulnerable youngsters receive more than they do under current EMA arrangements.
The minister said MPs need to consider "whether it is socially just to be paying 45 per cent of students a cash incentive to stay in learning when we could be concentrating our resources on removing barriers to learning faced by the poorest".
Posted by Dolcie Thacker