According to the latest published figures across North Ayrshire 1,135 pupils and students received £835,440 SNP Government-funded Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) in the academic year 2017/18.
EMA is a weekly allowance of £30 to support for young people aged 16 to 19 years from low-income households to overcome financial barriers to participate in school or college courses, or in an activity agreement.
The SNP Government’s approach is in stark contrast with that of the UK Government, where the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition scrapped the scheme in England nine years ago.
Key findings of the report include that school pupils accounted for 64.2% of young people in receipt of EMA payment. 31.3% were college students and the remaining 4.5% were young people on activity agreements.
The proportion of EMA recipients living in North Ayrshire’s 20% most deprived areas increased from 675 to 695, now making up 61.2%.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“It is heartening that last year, Education Maintenance Allowance enabled 1,135 young people across North Ayrshire to take the decision to stay in school or further education.
“Increasing their chances of leaving school with qualifications helps young people into sustainable employment or pursue further learning or training.
“To make our society fairer, education has to be our priority. We don’t want young people to feel disadvantaged if they stay in school or continue to college. We want to support young people in low income families, which is why we increased the income threshold and opened up EMAs up to even more young people."
Applications for Session 2019/2020 will be available from the beginning of June 2019. For more information, visit the website of North Ayrshire Council, who are provided with £25,000 each year to administer the scheme.