Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Teachers back learning allowance

The government wants to improve "staying on" rates

The majority of teachers in England believe paying teenagers to stay in education beyond the age of 16 has proved a success, a survey finds.

The Learning and Skills Council poll found 82% of further education teachers saw the education maintenance allowance (EMA) as a motivator for youngsters.

And 61% of the 323 teachers polled said EMAs treated teenagers like adults.

The EMA of up to £30 a week was introduced in 2004 to keep more teenagers in education.

The poll also found 37% of teachers thought the scheme had had a positive impact on learning, even on those teenagers not eligible for the allowance.

And 84% thought the EMA helped prepare young people for the world of work.

Up to £30 a week

The LSC says last academic year, 89% of 16-year-olds in England stayed on in education or training - the highest rate since 1994.

Applicants for EMA must be in full-time further education, aged 16-18 at the start of the academic year and come from a household with a combined income less than £30,810.

They can still hold down a part-time job and no other household benefits are affected.

There are weekly payments of £30, £20 and £10, depending on the student's household income.

Intermittent bonus payments are also awarded, depending on a student's course.

Financial barrier

The LSC's director of learner support, Trevor Fellowes, said: "Money is historically the number one reason why young people drop out of learning at 16 and EMA has already removed the financial barrier to staying on post-16 for thousands of young people.

"From this research we can also see that EMA is helping to prepare 16 to 18-year-olds for the world of work, which will benefit society as a whole in the long run."

Skills minister Phil Hope MP said: "We are committed to helping all young people achieve their potential through staying on in learning and it is fantastic to hear such positive feedback from those working within the further education sector.

"Teachers play a vital role in encouraging more young people to stay on and receive EMA so they can get the skills necessary to succeed in life.

"Working together, we can help to shape the skilled UK workforce of tomorrow and help more young people to make the most of their opportunities."

Teens' learning grants extended
10 Nov 05 |  Education
Students get 100 bonus payment
24 Jan 05 |  Education
Q&A: Education maintenance allowance
19 Apr 04 |  Education

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