By the end of June, when GCSE season has finally been put to bed, parents around the country will start to bemoan the cost of keeping a teenage bloomer in the style (they think) they deserve.

If you can get through the summer holidays, the good news is that if your child stays in full-time education, there is help at hand.


Known as the Education Maintenance Allowance, EMAs come in the form of £30 paid every week into your child’s account to help them afford to stay on at school. Children in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland cane apply directly from Student Finance Wales.

If your child doesn’t have one already, they will need a bank account for the payments to be made into – they’ll need these details for the application form.

The 16-19 Bursary Fund

For students in England, the new bursary scheme will help with the cost of equipment for school, travel and lunch. It replaces the EMA for England (only), which was scrapped in 2012.

The bursary amounts to £1,200 and is discretionary, so schools and colleges can decide which students need it most to help them continue their studies.

Students can also get the bursary automatically if they fit any of the following criteria:

1. They are or have been in care.
2. They get Universal Credit or Income Support
3. get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) plus Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIPs)

If you child applies for money from the discretionary fund, their school or college will decide how much they give out. They could get a lump sum at the beginning of term, a weekly allowance to help with travel costs, or money to cover essential equipment needed to complete a course. It’s also £400 more than the former EMA in England, and students can get more than £1,200 (by the discretion of the school) if required.

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