MP’s test for top minister

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SOUTH Yorkshire’s newest MP put Education Secretary Michael Gove on the spot over the allowance for further education students which will replace Education Maintenance Allowance.

Barnsley Central Labour MP Dan Jarvis asked for assurances that the number of 16 to 18-year-olds continuing in education would not drop due to the new payments being available to fewer people.

He said: “Given more than 3,500 young people in Barnsley currently claim EMA, can the Secretary of State guarantee the number of 16 to 18-year-olds participating in education will not fall?”

The new scheme makes £180m available for study support grants, whereas EMA was worth £560m per year and, rather than being paid directly to the students, the new scheme will be a discretionary fund administered by schools and colleges.

Those claiming EMA include 60 per cent of Barnsley College students.

But Mr Gove said: “It is our intention to make sure the number participating in education continues to increase.”