According to the latest published statistics, 990 North Ayrshire pupils and students received £849,930 SNP Government-funded Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) in the academic year 2020/21.
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 Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition scrapped the scheme in England 12 years ago.
585 (59%) of North Ayrshire’s EMA recipients live in the 20% most deprived quintile of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and 775 in either of the two most deprived quintiles (78%).
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“It is heartening that last year, Education Maintenance Allowance enabled 990 young people across North Ayrshire to take the decision to stay in school or further education.
“The fact that such a large percentage of recipients are living in the most deprived areas not only illustrates why the SNP Government was right to keep EMA; it also speaks to the aspiration our young people have regardless of where they live.
“Helping people to reach their full potential regardless of their financial background remains a flagship SNP policy, and everyone should have the opportunity to develop themselves in a positive destination.”
In North Ayrshire, 95.2% pupils (1,375) were in a ‘positive destination’ including work, training or further study within three months of leaving school in 2020/21. This is an increase from the 92.4% last year, which represented 1,258 pupils.
Figures published earlier this year also show 45.1% of school leavers went on to higher education courses at college or university - the highest since records began in 2009/10.