More youngsters staying in education

MORE young people in Ipswich are staying on in education or training after their GCSEs thanks to the success of a new allowance, it was claimed today.

MORE young people in Ipswich are staying on in education or training after their GCSEs thanks to the success of a new allowance, it was claimed today.

Chris Mole MP said latest figures show 6,331 young people in Ipswich are taking advantage of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) this year - up from 5,096 in 2004.

The EMA was launched by the Labour government across England in 2004 to support young people from low and middle income families who stay on in full-time education at 16.

Weekly payments of £10, £20 or £30 - depending on family income - are made so long as young people regularly attend their course and work hard.

Mr Mole said: “Education Maintenance Allowances are helping young people across the country to continue learning after their GCSEs.

“It's really encouraging to see the positive impact EMAs have already had.

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“This year 6,331 young people in Ipswich are getting EMAs, giving them the chance to stay on in education and training so they have more opportunity of getting the job they want in future.

“From this September, all 16-year-olds receiving the EMA will be given a firm guarantee of the minimum level of financial support they would get if they go on to higher education.

“I want to see all young people staying on at school, going to college, getting an apprenticeship or doing some form of training while at work. That's why I'm supporting plans to increase the education and training age to 18, to give every young person the chance to continue learning and get new skills.”

Martin Goold, the Suffolk secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the allowance has made a difference but stressed the importance of offering youngsters the right courses.

He said: “I'm sure the allowance is helpful in encouraging young people to stay on at school or in training although we feel that staying on past 16 involves a lot of factors, the most important one being the courses.

“Programmes, particularly in vocational education, need to be suitable for those who otherwise wouldn't be staying on.”

Do you think children should be paid to stay in education? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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