Young carers are losing out on education payments

John Finnie MSP
John Finnie MSP

YOUNG CARERS IN MORAY could face difficulties with the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) because they are required to show a 100% education attendance record.

The attendance requirement is written into the Learning Agreement that students must sign to receive the EMA payments – and that often leaves young carers ineligible for the payment, as their role as a carer often means their not being able to attend some classes.

In a letter to the First Minister, Highlands MSP John Finnie has highlighted the issue that was brought to his attention at a meeting with young carers.

Mr Finnie said: “I was struck by these remarkable young people and their commitment to their education despite the difficult personal circumstances they are facing.

“Timely and regular attendance can be affected by caring demands which don’t follow a school timetable.
“Learning Agreements for the EMAs, while no doubt well intentioned, cause additional difficulties for these young carers.

“I believe that there needs to be accommodation made to reflect these circumstances.

“I have written to the First Minister acknowledging her Government’s commitments to helping young carers and I have asked that she examine the issue of the EMA for young carers.”

Mr Finnie pointed out that in August the Scottish Government boasted of the extension of the income threshold for eligibility, when they said: “EMAs are a lifeline to the students who receive them, giving many of our young people from disadvantaged backgrounds an extra incentive to stay in education and build up their skills and employability”.

The MSP added: “I whole heartedly agree with the Scottish Government I hope that we can see a resolution to help our young carers to continue their education and fulfil their potential.”