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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June, 2005, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Pupils accept learn-and-earn cash
Classroom - generic
Pupils who stay on receive payments of up to 30 every week
Almost a third of 16-year-old pupils in Scotland have received new grant payments brought in to tempt them to stay on at school, figures show.

Education Maintenance Allowances are means-tested payments ranging from 10 to 30 a week to students who stay on at school or further education.

The allowances, introduced in August last year, will soon be available to teenagers up to the age of 19.

Lifelong Learning Minister Jim Wallace has urged pupils to use the scheme.

Scottish Executive statistics show 20,200 students received EMA payments since the scheme was launched and 78% of those received the maximum weekly payment of 30.

EMA STUDENT PAYMENTS
EMAs between 10, 20 and 30 awarded
86% of all awards were for 30
Female pupils were more likely than males to receive awards
10,930 students received a bonus in January

Additional bonus payments of 150 are paid to pupils for good attendance, completion of coursework and good behaviour.

By 2007-08, all eligible 16 to 19-year-olds who undertake a full-time course at school or college will receive an EMA.

The payments are graded at 30 per week for pupils coming from a household where the income is less than 19,600, 20 for incomes of up to 24,000 and 10 for incomes up to 30,000.

Mr Wallace said youngsters and the economy would benefit from the scheme in equal measure.

Economic potential

"For generations many young people, who do have talent and ability, have never realised that or been able to fulfil their hopes," he said.

"That's actually been a loss to the Scottish economy as a whole.

"That's why I hope by having these EMAs in place that more young people will be able to go and get the kind of qualifications and gain the kind of skills that will be of use to the Scottish economy in the future."

The Scottish Tories attacked the initiative and labelled it "a bribe" which encourages children to stay on in school rather than find work.

The scheme was tested in four local authority areas - East Ayrshire, Glasgow, Dundee and West Dunbartonshire before being introduced across the country.




SEE ALSO:
Teenagers cash in on school days
19 Aug 04 |  Scotland
Cash 'to keep pupils at school'
30 Mar 04 |  Scotland


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