Leighton Andrews AM, the Minister for Children, Education and Lifelong learning this week confirmed that he would be protecting the Education Maintenance Allowance in Wales. During his announcement of plans for higher education Tuition fees he stated:
“In England, they are scrapping Education Maintenance Allowances. Not in Wales
In England, they are cutting further education funding by 25%. Not in Wales”
Since taking office, the NUS Wales Deputy President, Michaela Neild has been writing to the Minister about the importance of EMA and the need to protect it in Wales.
Following the UK Government announcement to abolish EMA in England from January 2011, the Scottish Executive has confirmed that they intend to retain EMA in Scotland and the Northern Ireland Assembly look likely to follow suit.
NUS Wales is delighted that the devolved administrations have recognised the value of the EMA scheme to young people from low income households in post 16 education.
The decision to close the EMA Scheme in England has implications for Welsh domiciled learners studying in England who currently receive EMA awards under the English scheme. NUS Wales has been assured by the Welsh Assembly Government that they are reviewing the situation of such learners carefully and any possible impact on eligibility for the EMA Wales scheme from 2011 onwards.
As Welsh MPs are still eligible to vote to save EMA in England and for those students who’s home address is in England, Michaela has written a blog about lobbying MPs to save EMA.