Hackney students call on council to save EMA

Young campaigners present deputation to full council meeting

Hackney students took their campaign to save the government grants that help thousands stay in school to the town hall on Wednesday night.

Representatives from BSix College in Kenninghall Road and Hackney Community College in Falkirk Street called on Hackney Council to oppose the government’s cuts to the education maintenance allowance (EMA).

The Gazette revealed exclusively this week that the majority of the ten pupils from Mossbourne Community Academy who have landed offers from Cambridge University relied on the EMA to do so.

About 60 per cent of the over 16s currently in education in Hackney have received the grant.

MPs voted to scrap the weekly payments – available to 16 to 18 year olds whose household income is under �30,800 – earlier this month despite widespread protest.

Hackney students, who have already been active in the national Save EMA campaign, presented a deputation against the move to last night’s full council meeting.

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They said the grant made “all the difference” to their studies.

“Our experience is that EMA has enabled us and many young people like us to stay on in education. Post 16 education should not be dependent on whether your family can pay for it or not.

“We are calling on Hackney Council to campaign against the changes to EMA and write to the Government expressing our concerns about the impact that this will have on Hackney students.”

Cllr Rita Krishna said her Labour colleagues would write to education secretary Michael Gove expressing their concern about the abolition of the EMA.

“It is frankly disgraceful in terms of what this government is doing, hollowing out what possibilities there are for social mobility,” she said.

Cllr Ian Sharer, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said wanted to sign the council’s letter calling on the coalition government to reinstate the EMA.