Education Maintenance Allowance


The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a means tested allowance which is availabe to some young people who remain in full time education post 16.

EMA is not available to home educated young people in England and Wales.

In Scotland, however, h
ome educated young people, who have been in home education prior to reaching 'school leaving age', are eligible to receive this allowance by applying to their local authority.

You will find information about the EMA in Scotland here and information about the eligibility of home educated young people in Scotland here. You can also read a personal account of one home educating family's experience of applying for the EMA in Scotland here.

and us. It's certainly a consideration if it all goes tits up here! Mind you, you might not want us with our filthy mouths :brushteeth:
EMA : correspondence wrt what constitutes "full-time"

A home educator has asked that these be made available to others for reference - name and address removed.

Thank you for your recent enquiry about the difference in the level of study required to qualify for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) in the college and school sectors.

You may find the following answer provided by the Cabinet Secretary for Education of interest:

Willie Coffey (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how many hours of study per week qualify as full-time study for students applying for Education Maintenance Allowance to study for highers in (a) schools and (b) colleges. (S3W-21347)

Ms Fiona Hyslop

Young people are required to attend non-advanced full-time courses, including Highers, in order to be eligible to apply for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). Within the school sector, full-time usually means at least 21~guided learning. hours per week. In colleges, a course with at least 720 planned hour's~within one academic year qualifies as full-time.

There is a degree of flexibility around the number of hours making up a full-time course, particularly for vulnerable students who may require non-standard attendance patterns. Each student is required to sign a learning agreement which will contain conditions on attendance and agreed learning goals.

As most college years are of just over 30 weeks, my reading of this is that the same length of directed study is required in the two sectors to qualify for the EMA. If the different approach taken in the two sectors means that the number of highers that can be taken in a year varies between the sectors, I would be interested in taking that up with the Cabinet Secretary and would welcome further information to back up that further enquiry.

I look forward to hearing from you. Best Regards

Willie Coffey MSP Kilmarnock and Loudoun
Constituency Office The Scottish Parliament
1 Willock Street Edinburgh
Kilmarnock EH99 ISP
KA1 4HW Tel: 0131 348 6514
Tel/Fax 01563 537300 Fax: 0131 348 6517

Mrs. F. Hyslop Secretary for Education 107 McDonald Road EH7

28 October, 2009 Dear Mrs. Hyslop,

I write regarding the Education Maintenance Allowance and the discrimination against school students.

1 Enclosed is extract from section 5.4 of EMA regulations. It states very clearly that there may be a difference between school and college.

2 1 have made enquiries to reputable FE colleges in Glasgow and Edinburgh where Highers are a recognised part of their work and where Highers are, therefore, properly taught i.e. 2x1/2 days per week for each Higher (6 half days in total per week for 3 Highers) - there is no hesitation or beating about the bush -

16 hours with a lecturer (3 Highers + 1 hour tutorial)
+ 5 hours `directed study' (homework) without a lecturer

constitutes fulltime education (total 21 hours). I write with respect to 2008/09 not some time in the future.

Langside College invites you to contact Mr. Neil Carwood to confirm that 3 Highers in this very long established and reputable FE College constitutes full-time education and that they will pay EMA for this.

(b) Ayr College has confirmed "16 hours - we pay out on this" referring to EMA.

3 I am well aware that Kilmarnock College does not necessarily provide 5 hours of lecturer time for Higher classes. This college is not really geared up to teaching Highers. Last year some science Higher classes had only 2 hours of lecturer time which makes the system even more unfair. If you study 3 Highers at a traditional FE college you get 5 hours of tuition, and 3 Highers will constitute fulltime. At colleges such as Kilmarnock you do the same amount of work but most of it on your own: not only do you not get taught, the study you do on your own does not count for EMA purposes.
Kimarnock College has confirmed that they do not consider 3 Highers to be fulltime education. They say 3 Highers is only 12 hours while fulltime education requires 18 hours. As I have already stated, some subjects in Kilmarnock College will get even less lecturer time that this. This is not representative of the best FE Colleges and is not a good example for comparison but really shows up the discrepancies.(enclosure).

4 I was told in a Kilmarnock secondary school last autumn that in order to apply for an EMA a school student has to be in school all day every day including PSE and RE i.e. 3 HighersJAdvanced Highers (15 hours of teaching time) + 10 hours of homework done at home ("guided /directed study" in a college) does not constitute fulltime even although it amounts to 25 hours a week
To sum up, if a student travels to Glasgow and study 3 Highers at a reputable College he can apply for an EMA. If the same student studies the same 3 Highers /Advanced Highers at school, he can not, unless he remains in school for another 8 hours every week. (Many people cannot study in school, and these conditions do not apply do college students.)

It may or may not be relevant, but, to the best of my knowledge, 3 `A' levels /Highers has for decades constituted fulltime education.

I look forward to your reply which I hope will be forthcoming in less than the 3 months that it took East Ayrshire to reply to my letter which they did only after recourse to my MP.

Yours sincerely

Mrs. F Hyslop Secretary for Education 107, McDonald Road,

28 October, 2009 Dear Mrs. Hyslop,

Further to your reply to Mr.Coffey in March. 2009. Cover letter - main letter follows

I have been trying to raise the question of the discrimination between 17 year olds at school and 17 year olds at college with regard to payment of EMA.

Going through my local MSP has resulted in wrong questions being asked and months between question and reply. This was followed by 3 months of trying to get an answer from East Ayrshire. Hence, I am writing to you directly.

I made I mistake in my earlier letter to my MSP by referring to Kilmarnock College - it is not a typical FE college Much of its efforts are concentrated on Access courses and NCs and it is not a good example of an .FE college but it is a particularly good example of the unfairness in the system.

The fact remains this: a 17 year old studying 3 Highers {b half days) at a reputable, traditional FE college (in 2008/9) can apply for an EMA,
the same 17 year old (classed as "returning adult" if necessary) studying the same 3 Highers at school can not unless he remains, supervised, in the school building for the rest of the day/week.

Yours sincerely, Enc.(6)
As you can see from the enclosures, the definition of `Guided learning' seems to vary from place to place. After 7 months I am none the wiser as to the definition of Guided Learning and should be grateful if you would define this for me in writing. It would make more sense if it were actually defined in the EMA guidelines.
ad another one

Thank you for your letter of 28 October 2009 to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning regarding the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). As a member of the Enterprise and Employability for Young People Division, I have been asked to reply.

With regards to the number of hours making up a full-time course and your comments about Kilmarnock College, it may be helpful if I explain that Scotland's colleges are autonomous bodies established under the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 1992. Under the Act, responsibility for the management of each college rests with its board of management and as a result the Scottish Government cannot intervene in operational matters. Each college will therefore have its own attendance policies and the power to decide what qualifies as full-time.

Similarly, local authorities have their own policies around the number of hours making up a full-time course. The national EMA guidance simply advises what may be considered to be full-time, and the Scottish Government does not enforce a set number of hot.w-s as cchoolG and colleges will have to align the rules for EMA with their other relevant policies. Colleges and local authorities should therefore refer to their own policies when deciding what constitutes a full-time course.

I hope you find this reply helpful. Yours sincerely,

Lorna Souter