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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 15:24 GMT
Pupil 'payments' for further study
Pupils from lower income families will be eligible for the scheme
Teenagers are to be offered an allowance of up to 30 a week to continue their education past GCSE level, the education minister Jane Kennedy, has announced.

The means tested payments will be available to 16-year-olds from families on low incomes from September who study full-time courses at school or further education colleges.

Performance bonuses linked to progress, behaviour and achievement will also be payable.

The Educational Maintenance Allowances, have already been piloted in England and are being extended to Northern Ireland in line with a roll-out of the scheme across Britain at the start of the next school year.

Mrs Kennedy said she was delighted that funding had been agreed to extend the scheme to pupils in the province.

"I trust that it will have an impact on the number of young people staying on in education post 16," she said.

Financial incentives are always popular with young people and I am looking forward to a significant uptake for the scheme
Jane Kennedy
Education minister

The minister said that while the initial scheme was only available to 16-year-olds, the government intended extending it to the whole 16-19 age group.

"Pilot exercises in Great Britian demonstrate that the incentive has resulted in an increase in the numbers of children staying on at school or college post 16," she said.

"If the trend is repeated in Northern Ireland there should also be a corresponding beneficial impact on qualifications and job prospects.

"Financial incentives are always popular with young people and I am looking forward to a significant uptake for the scheme."

Details of the weekly allowance and the qualifying conditions are being formalised and will be announced through a public information campaign starting in April.


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