Paying Young People to Stay on at School – Does it Work? Evidence from the Evaluation of the Piloting of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
With a view to raising participation, retention and achievement rates in post16 education among 1618 year olds, particularly among those from lowerincome families, the piloting of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) began in September 1999. The EMA is an allowance paid to young people (or in some areas in the piloting phase, to their parents), eligibility for which is dependent on parental income. EMAs were rolled out nationally from September 2004. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) funded a largescale study over a fiveyear period. The evaluation comprised largescale longitudinal quantitative surveys, longitudinal qualitative studies of young people and their parents, longitudinal qualitative studies of the local implementation and delivery of EMA, and narrative studies which collected sociodemographic information. This paper presents some key findings from the evaluation and some emerging policy developments following the national implementation of the EMA policy initiative.