Brown's bright idea is a bargain 2

August 30, 2002

John Mace questions whether subsidising students from poorer backgrounds beyond 16 is good value for money. I have been part of two research studies with colleagues at the University of York. One showed that continuing education is not an option for many 16 to 18-year-olds. As many as 250,000 have been excluded from school or have dropped out. They have failed to get adequate support from official agencies.

The other study attempted to cost the social exclusion of such young people in terms of resources and public finance. This suggested that the lifetime costs were about £100,000 per person. In this context, the exploratory scheme that the chancellor proposes to encourage excluded young people to exploit the economic and social benefits of continuing education appears modest.

Gary Craig
Professor of social justice
Hull University

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