Thursday, January 28, 1999 Published at 12:23 GMT
Grants for staying on
The government wants more young people to stay on after 16
Means-tested grants of up to £40-a-week will be paid to 16 to 18-year-olds who remain in full-time education from this September.
The government has announced a three-year trial of the new grant - called the Education Maintenance Allowance - in 12 areas of England.
The £100m programme is being targeted at teenagers from families with low incomes. Those with family incomes of below £13,000 will qualify for the full grant.
"Many young people deny themselves the opportunities open to their better-educated peers, and deny society the benefit of their skills," she said.
"Currently, the number of 16-18 year olds in education or training from lower-income families is 20% lower than for young people from better-off households.
"The pilots will test how an allowance encourages these young people to stay on and achieve in education. If the pilots are a success, as we think they will be, then we will consider the introduction of Education Maintenance Allowances nationally."
The pilot projects will be run by the local education authorities of Bolton, City of Nottingham, Cornwall, Doncaster, Gateshead, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Oldham, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, and Walsall.
Four London boroughs - Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Greenwich - will run a joint trial.