Funding boost will support young people to stay in education.

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Published Date: 

28 Aug 2015 - 12:46

Councillor Roddy McCuish, Chair of Argyll and Bute Council’s Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee, has welcomed changes to the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during her visit to Oban High School.

Changes to the EMA could see thousands more young people improve their employment prospects by staying in education.

Councillor McCuish said, “Improving educational attainment and providing children in our area with the best possible start is a priority for Argyll and Bute Council.  We are very proud of our young people; the latest figures show that 91% of school leavers in the area have gone on to employment, further or higher education, or training.

“We recognise and welcome this important increase in the funding of the Education Maintenance Allowance and the benefits that it will provide for an increased number of our young people.  

“Education prospects in Argyll and Bute are getting better and better.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that income thresholds for eligibility will be raised from January 2016, meaning that a family with one dependent child earning up to £24,421 is now eligible, an increase of £4,070 on current levels. For a family with more than one dependent child, the increase is £4,481 up to £26,884.

The First Minister made the announcement during a Cabinet visit to the town. She said, “The Scottish Government is committed to helping families on the lowest incomes and ensuring that background and income does not hamper the prospects of our young people.

 “EMAs have already helped thousands of young women and men in Scotland stay on in education to build up their skills and employability. From January, an additional 22,000 16 to 19 year olds will be eligible for the weekly grant, which is in stark contrast to the Westminster government who removed EMAs from England a number of years ago.

 “We remain committed to the continued availability of EMAs in Scotland to help even more school pupils and college students continue their studies and fulfil their potential.”