National calls today to reintroduce the Educational Maintenance Allowance have been echoed by Cambridge Labour Parliamentary spokesperson Daniel Zeichner as evidence emerges of local funds drying up.
The Educational Maintenance Allowance was a flagship Labour scheme designed to improve staying-on rates and attendance of pupils over 16 years old. The Coalition scrapped the £30 a week grant and replaced it with a much more limited scheme. In Cambridge over 1300 students at Cambridge Regional College were benefiting from the scheme before it was axed , at Long Road over 600 pupils and at Hills Road almost 300.
The decision to end EMA was criticised today in a major report issued by the Government’s Social Mobility Adviser, who says that social mobility is now flat-lining.
Mr Zeichner says that pupils attending Long Road Sixth Form College have already been told that no more support bursaries will be available this term. Parents were told in a letter on October 5th: “there are insufficient funds available for Support Bursaries to help students with costs relating to the following this term.
- Transport to & from college
- Materials required for academic study
- Criminal record checks for work experience
- Essential course-related trips
- UCAS fees and travel to UCAS open days
- Sport activities directly related to academic study
- Exam re-sit fees
Mr Zeichner says that the Government should rethink their priorities:
“Instead of handing a £40,000 tax cut to people earning a million pounds next April, they should reinstate Labour’s Educational Maintenance Allowance, which was helping significant numbers of young people to stay on at school. We warned that it would be damaging, and now we are seeing the evidence.”