Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Minister axes students' EMA bonuses to save 100m

Computer screen
Pupils with family incomes less than 30,810 can benefit

Bonus payments for pupils who stay in schools or colleges in England are being axed to try to save almost £100m.

Pupils on the means-tested Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) scheme are currently entitled to an extra £100 every six months they stay in college.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls said the cash would be used to expand the basic scheme - giving poorer pupils up to £30 a week - to an extra 80,000 people.

There would be an extra 140,000 places in England in 2010, he said.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Mr Balls said: "Young people shouldn't need a bonus of £100 every six months to convince them to stay on - not on top of the weekly money they're receiving."

Administrative delays

He added: "This reform will save almost £100m per year and it means I can fund the weekly allowances to thousands more young people who are staying in education or training.

"Some people will be disappointed, but in these tough times it's the only way to keep expanding opportunities to more young people."

Mr Balls said he wanted to boost the number of apprenticeships and places in sixth forms, colleges and training.

The decision comes a year or so after the EMA scheme was hit by major administrative delays, similar to the crisis with the student loans system - leaving thousands of pupils without their weekly payments.

Scores of colleges around England were left providing pupils with emergency funds to encourage them to stay on.

A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokesman said the overall EMA budget is being increased to almost £580m as a result of the twice yearly bonus being scrapped.

Students will continue to receive bonuses in January and July 2010, but from 2011 they will no longer be paid.



Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific