Decision to scrap Education Maintenance Allowance ‘ill thought through’

A committee of MPs has criticised the way in which the government cut the Education Maintenance Allowance, which supported poor 16-19 year olds in education.

July 19, 2011

The Education Select Committee said today that the decision last October to close the £560 million scheme, which provides means-tested grants of up to £30 a week, was “rushed and ill-thought through”.

The decision was met with widespread protests, and the government did not release details of the £180 million bursary fund that is to replace the EMA until March, while funding allocations to colleges were not made until June.

The select committee said this was “far too late to allow Year 11 students to make fully informed decisions” about courses starting next academic year, adding that the delay “was regrettable and should not have been allowed to happen”.

However, despite its criticisms, the committee said it accepted that savings had to be made.

A spokesman for the Department for Education told the BBC it was “pleased” that the committee “acknowledges the government's rationale for closing the very expensive and centralised EMA scheme”.

The University and College Union said that last year, over 600,000 students received the EMA.

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said: “We are pleased the select committee has acknowledged the complete mess the government has made of the EMA…The government needs to listen to the select committee, which actually took the time to properly analyse the EMA’s impact on retention and attainment…Ignorance is always more expensive than education and unless the government looks again at the help for our poorest teenagers then the state will be hit with a higher benefit payments bill.”

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy