Barnardo’s brands bursary scheme ‘unfair’ and ‘totally inadequate’
The bursary fund brought in by the government to replace the education maintenance allowance (EMA) is failing disadvantaged teenagers, according to the latest Barnardo's report.
Staying the Course looked at the experiences of 51 young people in further education and training who were being supported by Barnardo’s.
The report found widespread problems with access to funding, which unlike the EMA is awarded on a discretionary basis. Those surveyed also struggled with everyday costs such as bus fares and buying lunch, also caused by a reduction in money on offer compared to the EMA.
Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: "It is an absolute disgrace that some students are now being forced to skip meals in order to afford the bus to college. The bursary fund is an unfair and totally inadequate replacement for the EMA."
Among those featured in the report is 18-year-old Darryl, a trainee warehouse operative in Newcastle. He said: "My family is finding it hard to afford the everyday costs of living, so they can’t always help me out. I want to train to get a job to support myself, but how can I finish my course if I can’t afford the costs?"
The charity is urging the government to rethink the criteria for access to the bursary and make available £30 per week for 38 weeks per year to all young people who have received free school meals.
Barnardo’s estimates this would cost £250m a year, which is £300m less than the original cost of the EMA.
Care leavers, those in care, disabled young people and those living on benefits are guaranteed money through the bursary fund.
This article has been taken from www.cypnow.co.uk – http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1071701/barnardos-brands-bursary-scheme-unfair-totally-inadequate