HC Deb 25 May 2004 vol 421 cc1531-2W
Mr. Dhanda

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he made of the Education Maintenance Allowance pilot schemes before rolling them out nationally; and what changes were made to the scheme as a result of his conclusions. [174991]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

An independent evaluation of the education maintenance allowance scheme has been taking place since 1999. The evaluation has tested the effectiveness of the scheme in increasing participation. Evidence from the pilots shows that EMAs have increased the number of eligible young people in full time education in year 12 in pilot areas by 5.9 percentage points compared to the local authority areas without EMAs. EMAs have also increased participation by young people in Year 13 by 4.1 percentage points.

The evaluation has also assessed the comparative impact of different features and this has informed the development of the national scheme. The main changes are: that household income is assessed rather than parental income; that EMA payments are paid at three rates of £10, £20 or £30 dependent on the household income; the bonus payments are linked to retention and progression in learning rather than achievement of qualifications; and, that more young people can benefit from three years of support.