East London council to pay low income children to stay in school


n east London council is to become the first in the country to pay children from low income families to stay in school.

Tower Hamlets will give £200 a term to teenagers from households that earn less than £25k if they remain in full time education after turning 16.

The council has earmarked £500,000 from its budget to run the scheme in the first year and payments will be backdated to September.

It will pay an estimated 1,250 eligible students £400 over the next two terms.

On Wednesday night councillors also signed off a further £600k from reserves for university bursaries for disadvantaged students.

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The council said the scheme is a replacement for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) – the £30 a week payment for 16 to 18-year-olds from poorer families that was scrapped in England in 2011.

Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “EMA can make all the difference to a student, and help change the course of a young person’s life. It’s the ability to travel to college and gain qualifications, whether it be an apprenticeship or to get to university.

“That extra boost of money to pay the rent and bills while studying at university can make a huge difference to grades by alleviating the financial strain so many students face.”

It comes after polling by Savanta ComRes found that 67 per cent of young students in higher education were concerned about managing their living costs this autum.

University leaders warned that undergraduates would quit their courses this year due to the growing impacts of the cost of living crisis.

Vice-chancellors suggested bringing back maintenance grants and providing targeted hardship funding to help young people stay in further education.

Applications for the Tower Hamlets EMA scheme will open on November 1.


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