The Bring Back EMA Campaign welcomes the news that the Labour Party will bring back EMA if they are elected at the general election in 2015. 

Tristram Hunt, the current Shadow Education Secretary has confirmed the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) will be re-introduced if the 2015 election results in a Labour majority. Writing in praise of this move, former Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett MP said:
“A crucial aspect of achieving social mobility within our education system is by reinstating the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), which was first introduced back in 1999 when I was Education Secretary.

EMA, which provided a maximum of £30 per week, supported young people still in education with the cost of transport, books and college equipment. It offered genuine fairness for students who, through no fault of their own, find themselves hampered by the most deep seated disadvantaged in their lives.” 
Co-founders of the Bring Back EMA Campaign Aaron Kiely (NUS Black Students’ Officer) and Matt Stanley (NUS NEC) had the following to say on this victory for the campaign:
“We are delighted that the Labour Party leadership have made a commitment to bring back EMA if they are elected in 2015. This represents a huge victory for the Bring Back EMA Campaign which was launched just over a year ago.

This proves that campaigning and protesting works. Our national days and weeks of action which have mobilized thousands of college students on dozens of campuses across the country. This not only delivered the backing of 63 MPs for our Early Day Motion in Parliament but it has undoubtedly played a key role in persuading the Labour Party to make a commitment to restore this vital grant.

The coalition government’s decision to scrap EMA was a massive attack on the aspirations of thousands of the poorest young people in our society and we will not cease campaigning until EMA is brought back once and for all.


Please sign the recently launched Bring Back EMA petition to send a clear message to David Cameron and the Tories that we want EMA to be brought back and we want it now.”
Sign the Bring Back EMA petition here and share it far and wide!
 
 
Join the Bring Back EMA Campaign’s week of action to build the national petition to bring back EMA!
Students in Further Education Colleges have been leading the campaign to bring back the Education Maintenance Allowance after it was brutally slashed by the government in 2010. This year we successfully pressured 63 MPs to sign an Early Day Motion in parliament to Bring Back EMA.

Now we have teamed up with 38 Degrees, one of the UK’s largest campaigning communities, to keep up the pressure on the government to bring back EMA.

Our pressure and campaigning is clearly working - Labour’s shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, has indicated that Labour could reintroduce the grant following our hugely successful student campaigns.

This should be welcomed, but we should be clear that it would be wrong to bring back this grant by scrapping other vital benefits. When we continue to spend over £2 billion annually on the unnecessary Trident nuclear weapons system, the idea that we would have to cut Winter Fuel Payments to afford the cost of EMA is simply untrue and feeds a false narrative of pitting older and younger people against one another.

This also ignores the peer-reviewed evidence from the Institute for Fiscal Studies which states that ‘The initial outlay of the EMA policy is likely to be more than recouped’ – in effect EMA was good for the economy.

Students will be taking the next steps in the campaign to bring back EMA with a day of action in colleges across the country, from Kent and London to Dudley and Gateshead, building a national petition hosted by the campaigning organisation 38 degrees. The day of action on the 5th of November will coincide with actions across the country as part of the Student Assembly Against Austerity national day of action

Want to organise something on your campus? Let us know what you would like to do and we will add the details to the list above. Email info@bringbackEMA.org.uk 

You can also download all the free resources you will need to run actions on your campus and encourage students to sign the 38 Degrees petition. If you’d like more information you can ring Matt Stanley, co-founder of the Bring Back EMA campaign on 07714139738 

We need to keep up the pressure on the government and politicians to bring back EMA – make sure you sign the petition and join the Bring Back EMA Campaign to get as many people to sign as possible!

Actions:

1. Plan your action on your campus - don't forget to email info@bringbackEMA.org.uk to tell us what you'll be doing!

2. Download free resources from our resources hub - including posters, leaflets, Facebook banner photos and profile pictures to support your campaign.

3. Encourage students to sign the 38 Degrees petition - you could set up a stall with a laptop for students to sign or even collect signatures on paper petitions. Please scan completed paper petitions and email to info@bringbackema.org.uk so signatures can be added to the petition.

4. Tweet! - Make sure you share your actions on Facebook and Twitter using #BringBackEMA
 
 
The Bring Back EMA Campaign supports the upcoming Student Assembly Against Austerity to be held on Saturday 2 November at University College London.
The Student Assembly Against Austerity is one of the key initiatives coming out of the hugely successful People’s Assembly Against Austerity which was the biggest, united gathering of the anti-cuts movement since the beginning of the Tory-led government’s massive assaults on students.

As students we are committed to confronting the Tories’ attacks on our education system and our future. Nothing illustrated these attacks more than the scrapping of EMA, which had a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of the poorest FE students in the country.

The Student Assembly Against Austerity has been called by a diverse and growing coalition of student leaders and seeks to unite all those that want to take forward the fight for free education, against tuition fees and a lifetime of debt and for the government to properly invest in our universities and colleges instead of the cuts agenda which is having a devastating impact on our campuses.

This event will provide a key opportunity to bring together all students who want to stop the cuts and the devastation they are bringing to millions of people in Britain, and to launch the next steps in the fightback. We urge supporters to take the following actions:
1.      Sign up as an individual to support the Student Assembly Against Austerity by adding your name here.

2.      Sign up your Students’ Union, campus anti-cuts group, national campaign or organisation to support the Student Assembly Against Austerity here or by emailing info@thestudentassembly.org.uk. Email info@thestudentassembly.org.uk if you are interested in setting up an Assembly on your campus.

3.      Book your place for the Student Assembly Against Austerity here
The Bring Back EMA Campaign urges students from across the country to join the Student Assembly Against Austerity so that we can come together to discuss the next steps in the fight for free education and against tuition fees, a lifetime of debt and cuts to education, while taking to the next level the struggle to bring back EMA. 
 
 
The Bring Back EMA Campaign supports the upcoming People's Assembly Against Austerity to be held on Saturday 22 June 2013 9am – 5pm at Central Hall Westminster.

The Bring Back EMA Campaign has been mobilising for the People's Assembly Against Austerity - helping to gather support from FE student leaders for the upcoming assembly, which is a key opportunity to bring together all those who want to stop the cuts and the ­devastation they are bringing to millions of people in the UK, and to launch the next steps in the fightback. As students we are committed to confronting the Tories’ attacks on our education system and our future. Nothing illustrated these attacks more than the scrapping of EMA, which had a huge impact on hundreds of thousands of the poorest FE students in the country.

The Bring Back EMA campaign also support the calls for a 'Student Assembly Against Austerity' following the People's Assembly. The Student Assembly Against Austerity will take place on Saturday 2 November
2013 in central London. This event will provide a key opportunity to bring together all students who want to stop the cuts and the devastation they are bringing to millions of people in Britain, and to launch the next steps in the fightback. 

The Bring Back EMA Campaign urges students from across the country to join the Student Assembly Against Austerity so that we can come together to discuss the next steps in the fight for free education and against tuition fees, a lifetime of debt and cuts to education, while taking to the next level the struggle to bring back EMA.
 
 
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This week Tory chancellor George Osbourne will reveal his budget. On Tuesday 19 March 2013, the eve of the budget, students across the country will be taking part in a National Day of Action to put pressure on George Osborne to do a u-turn and give us back our EMA.

Bring Back EMA pre-budget national day of action posters, leaflets and signs for photo campaigns are now available to download free online for colleges taking part in the day of action.

 
Just head over to the Lobbying Tools page of the website to download resources for your day of action now!

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The following 26 campuses have already signed up to join the
National Day of Action:




 
·      Worcester College of Technology
·      Dudley College
·      Birmingham South and City College
·      Central St Martin's College of Art and Design
·      Stourbridge College
·      Sandwell College
·      Gateshead College
·      Lancaster & Morecambe College
·      Camberwell College of Art and Design
·      Midkent College
·      Sunderland College
·      Hull College
·      West Thames College
·      Sheffield College
·      Bridgwater College
·      Edinburgh College
·      Chelsea Academy 6th Form College
·      Goldsmiths College
·      SOAS
·      Birmingham University
·      Manchester University
·      LSE
·      London Met University
·      Hertfordshire University
·      Kent University   
·      Sussex University 

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Things you could organise on the day include:

·      Do a ‘Bring Back EMA’ banner drop
·      Encourage students to send an email to their MP by using this lobby tool which finds your MP for you and includes a model letter

·     Organise a stall with a petition or model letters to lobby your MPS to sign up to the early Day Motion it they have not done so already
·      Organise a photo petition, where you go around your campus with a camera and the photo campaign poster and take photos of students that support the campaign to upload on the internet and tweet at your MP

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do on the day – get creative!

 
 
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On Tuesday 19 March 2013, the eve of the budget, the Bring Back EMA campaign are organising a Bring Back EMA National Day of Action.
 
Already 56 MPs have signed up to the Early Day Motion calling on the government to restore EMA, as a result of our incredibly successful national week of action, which involved hundreds of students and over 18 campuses. Check out the report from the last week of action here: http://www.bringbackema.org.uk/2/post/2013/03/bring-back-ema-week-of-action-report.html and the list of MPs signed up here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1067
 
We are calling on campuses across the country to join us in a national day of action to gather more support for the Early Day Motion by lobbying MPs and also putting pressure on George Osborne to do a u-turn and give us back our EMA.
 
The following 24 campuses  have already signed up to join the National Day of Action:

 
· Worcester College of Technology
· Dudley College
· Birmingham South and City College
· Central St Martin's College of Art and Design
· Stourbridge College
· Sandwell College
· Gateshead College
· Lancaster & Morecambe College
· Camberwell College of Art and Design
· Midkent College
· Sunderland College
· Hull College
· West Thames College 
· Sheffield College
· Goldsmiths College
· SOAS
· Birmingham University
· Manchester University 
· LSE
· London Met University 
· Hertfordshire University 
· Kent University 
· Bidgewater College
· University of Sussex
  
We want as many students to get involved in this day of action as possible! Sign up your Students’ Union or anti-cuts group to the Bring Back EMA National Day of Action by contacting Matt Stanley, co-founder of the campaign, on
info@bringbackema.org.uk and let us know what you have planned!
 
Things you could organise on the day include:
 
· Do a ‘Bring Back EMA’ banner drop
· Encourage students to send an email to their MP by using this lobby tool which finds your MP for you and includes a model letter
: http://act.bringbackema.org.uk/lobby/11
· Organise a stall with a petition or model letters to lobby your MPS to sign up to the early Day Motion
it they have not done so already
· Organise a photo petition, where you go around your campus with a camera and a ‘I say Bring Back EMA’ sign and take photos of students that support the campaign to upload on the internet and tweet at your MP
 
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do on the day –get creative and join in the action!

 
 
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Bring Back EMA campaign celebrates successful week of action

Last week hundreds of students and more than 18 campuses took part in the Bring Back EMA week of action.

The week of action, taking place from the 25th February to the 1st March, focussed on an Early Day Motion tabled by Jeremy Corbyn MP to bring back EMA.

As a result of student pressure 49 MPs have already signed the early day motion which states:
This House believes the withdrawal of the education maintenance allowance (EMA) was a grave error because this scheme had allowed 16 to 19 year olds from some of the poorest families access to further education; notes that its abolition has had a hugely detrimental impact according to UCAS figures with 56,000 fewer students staying on in the last academic year; and calls on the Government to restore the EMA, which would require only a modest investment, would broaden access to education and benefit the economy as a whole.

 
 
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This article originally appeared online in The Independent


In October 2010, the Coalition Government confirmed that it would be scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance scheme in England which had previously encouraged students from less affluent backgrounds to continue their education beyond the age of sixteen.
 
Now, students are imploring MPs to reinstate the scheme with an early day motion, which has already acquired 34 signatures online. The motion states that the withdrawal of the allowance 'was a grave error because the scheme had allowed 16 to 19 year olds from some of the poorest families access to further education' and that its abolition 'had a hugely detrimental impact according to UCAS figures with 56,000 fewer students staying on in the last academic year'.

The EMA scheme has been replaced with the 16-19 bursary fund, which is administered directly from the young person’s academy, school, college or other training provider. This scheme allows the educational institutes to be more aware of their pupils’ financial situations, encouraging a more individual approach to monetary aid.

The Bring Back EMA Campaign has named this week as its week of action, urging students to 'lobby your MP today', as well as to organise events on campus this week in aid of the revival. The website lists a dozen colleges who have formulated a plan of action so far.

The website also shows a message of support for students protesting this week from Dianne Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, who encourages students to rise up against this cut, which she views as a "vicious attack on the aspirations of young people”. She expresses her belief that “the EMA had a transformative impact for young people, particularly in inner city communities like mine."

Matt Stanley, co-founder of the Bring Back EMA campaign,  and president of Mid Kent College Students’ Union, told The Independent that 'the government has got its priorities wrong' when it comes to funding. He highlighted that the government’s £560m budget for EMA was cut drastically to £150m for the new scheme, and that colleges are overspending as  this budget does not cover the cost of accommodating all of the students in  need. He states that 'the government shouldn’t be creating barriers for students' willing to continue their education beyond the required legal age.

 “Education should be free,” he said.

Although the lessons themselves are free, for many students the cost of education can be overwhelming. Many will need to get the bus, require books and resources, and be given the opportunity to attend trips and extra-curricular activities, all relevant to their course and very expensive over the length of two years.

Lots of students continuing in education beyond the age of sixteen will have the ambition to progress to tertiary education, and those with limited financial means may find their aspirations alter when they are
faced  with the cost of supporting themselves through sixth form to then be struck with  the new £9,000 per year tuition fees alongside the cost of living.

When the scheme was abolished, Alan Milburn, the government’s adviser on child poverty and social mobility, told The Guardian that its removal  was 'a very bad mistake' as the EMA 'encouraged progression, attainment and good  study habit because of the way it was awarded'. Students were only
allowed the  grant for weeks in which their school reported that they had 100 per cent  attendance, meaning that money was only awarded to students who were committed  to their studies.

Conor Ryan, director of research and communications at the Sutton Trust said that "We were critical of the abolition of the EMA, which helped both low and lower middle-income students to cover the costs of  transport, books and other essentials while continuing their education in the sixth form or college. The new fund does help the poorest students, but our concern is that while individual schools or colleges may offer such help to students from lower-middle income families, surveys suggest there is a postcode lottery as the total fund is much smaller."

 
 
This article originally appeared online in the Guardian

Students have come up with a new strategy in their fight to get the education maintenance allowance (EMA) restored. They're urging MPs to support an "early day motion" – which is a proposal submitted for debate in parliament. Even though the debate doesn't always take place, early day motions raise awareness of a cause.

This one calls on MPs to restore the vital student grant scrapped by the Tory-led government over two years ago. Hundreds of students from across the country are currently participating in a "
Bring back EMA week of action". Activists on over a dozen college campuses are organising stalls, petitions, online lobbying and social media action in an effort to persuade MPs to support disadvantaged young people so they can continue to study post-16.

The message is getting across:
22 MPs have already signed up to the early day motion, with many more promising to show their support over the course of this week.

This is the first big push from the Bring Back EMA campaign since its
launch by a coalition of over 100 leading student activists in November. It shows that youth opposition to the Tory-led government has not gone away, but instead is taking new forms – and further education students are leading the way.

Choi Hy, the student union president at Worcester College of Technology, says: "It's time the government started listening to students. We will not sit by and accept the destruction of the education system and our futures."

The EMA was a grant of up to £30 a week that allowed over half a million students from some of the poorest families in the country access to further education; almost 90% of students eligible for free school meals received the EMA.

Its loss is keenly felt. Becca Anderson, from Gateshead College, denies media claims that students used the grant for luxuries: "At home it was just my mum supporting both me and my brother on the little money she could bring in. Contrary to popular belief, the EMA wasn't something we used to buy clothes and
CDs. My EMA went to our living costs, supporting my family.

 "I would walk miles to college every day so that I could contribute to our basic living costs."

Josie, a young mum and aspiring midwife from Kent, says: "The EMA was absolutely crucial in supporting me through my A-levels at Canterbury College.  I've since progressed on to a vocational course which I hope will lead to a degree in midwifery."

She adds: "With sky-high fees and the slashing of student support, it's not difficult to see why students are still angry and are not giving up in their fightback."

The number of students applying to university is in sharp decline – in 2012 Ucas reported a drop of more than 50,000  – and, alongside the trebling of tuition fees, the loss of the EMA is a factor. James Phillips, a political science and philosophy student at the University of Birmingham says: "Receiving the EMA while I studied in further education was vital in allowing me to progress on to
higher education. Those who argue against its reinstatement ignore the huge transformative impact it has had on the lives of thousands of ordinary students."


The reinstatement of the grant would require only a modest state investment. As leading economists including Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research,
have pointed out, the EMA "delivered significant economic and social benefits" and was valuable not only to poorer students but "to the economy as a whole".


The government may be hoping that student anger has dissipated. But we have not given up. This week of action is a chance to send a clear message that we want an end to attacks on education and support for students to fulfil our potential.

 
 
Join the Bring Back EMA Campaign’s week of action to support the Early Day Motion (EDM) in parliament to bring back EMA! 

BRING BACK EMA NATIONAL WEEK OF ACTION: Monday 25 February – Friday 1 March.

Early Day Motions (EDMs) are submitted by MPs to publicise a particular event or cause, and to gather support among other MPs. MPs demonstrate their support for an EDM by signing the motion.

The Bring Back EMA Campaign are calling for students across the country to lobby their MPs to sign the EDM and demand that the government bring back EMA! 

GET INVOLVED 
 
1) Lobby your MP today!


MPs are currently on holiday – but they will be back next Monday. Let’s make sure they are greeted by hundreds of emails on their return demanding that they support the restoration of EMA by signing the EDM.

You can email your MP straight away using
www.writetothem.com and the model letter below. You can also tweet to your MP (using the model tweets below) by checking their twitter name at www.tweetminster.co.uk/mps

 21 MPs have already signed the Bring Back EMA EDM – to check if your MP has signed yet click here.

2) Organise activities on your campus during the national week of action!

As well as writing and tweeting to MPs we are calling a national week of action for students to take action on their campuses across the country, to build the movement to bring back EMA. Many colleges are already planning their activities for the week of action. 
 
Here is what we have planned so far:

MIDKENT COLLEGE
The Students’ Union will be organizing a week of stalls where students can sign model open letters to be sent to Kent’s MPs. For more information contact SU President Matt Stanley on matt.stanley@midkent.ac.uk 
 
GATESHEAD COLLEGE
The Student’s Union will be organising a week of action to lobby five local MPs. SU officers will be holding stalls and gathering signatures on petitions to present to local MPs. For more information contact SU president Becca Anderson on rebecca.anderson@gateshead.ac.uk

STOURBRIDGE COLLEGE
Students at Stourbridge College will be taking part in the week of action through petitions, lobbying local MPs and online activism. For more information contact SU President Tanya Darby on 01darbyt@stourbridge.ac.uk  


DUDLEY COLLEGE
The Student’s Union at Dudley College will be holding a week of action with stunts and other actions to promote the EDM to students. Students will be encouraged to tweet, write to their MP and sign the SU petition. For more information contact SU President Kelly Russell on
studentunion@dudleycol.ac.uk

BEXLEY COLLEGE
The Students’Union at Bexley College will be lobbying local MPs to sign the EDM to bring back EMA, with a week of action planned to get students engaged in the issue and taking part in lobbying their MPs. For more information contact SU President Serena Fan.

WORCESTER COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY
Students at Worcester College of Technology will be taking part in the national week of action to lobby their MPs to support the Early Day Motion to bring back EMA. Students will be able to send letters to their MPs at stalls in the student social zones, as well as being encouraged to sign the SU petition to bring back EMA. For more information contact SU President Choi Hy on
chy@wortech.ac.uk 

Want to organize something on your campus? Let us know what you would like to do and we will add the details to the list above. Email info@bringbackEMA.org.uk

Later in the week we will be publishing all the materials, advice and guidance you will need to run actions on your campus and successfully lobby your MP. If you’d like more information you can ring Matt Stanley, co-founder of the Bring Back EMA campaign on 07714139738 

It’s time we started setting the agenda on bringing back EMA – make sure you contact your MP and join
the Bring Back EMA Campaign to get as many MPs to sign the motion as possible!

Model tweets:

I want my MP (@NAME) to support the EDM to bring back EMA! http://bit.ly/XqAthF @BringBkEMA #BringBackEMA

 Lobby your MP to #BringBackEMA! Check out the @BringBkEMA campaign article and get your MP to sign the EDM!

Just sent a message to my MP (@NAME) asking them to support the EDM to #BringBackEMA! Make sure to lobby your MP http://bit.ly/XqAthF 

BringBackEMA week of action Monday 25th February!–Friday 1st April. Let’s get as much support possible from MPs to bring back EMA!

Model letter to MPs:

Dear INSERT YOUR MP HERE,

I am writing to you (on behalf of INSERT YOUR STUDENTS' UNION HERE) to ask for you to show your support for
 Early Day Motion 1067– ‘Restoration of Education Maintenance Allowance’

As you will likely know, EMA was a grant of up to £30 a week that allowed over half a million students from some of the poorest families to access Further Education, with almost 90% of students who received free meals at school receiving EMA.

The statistics from 2008 also showed that EMA was received by 88% of Bangladeshi students, with the
overwhelming 84% of them receiving the full grant of £30 a week. Around 65% of all African & Caribbean students received EMA too compared to 39% of their white student counterparts. These statistics highlight the significant impact that the loss of EMA had on Black communities.

The government’s own child poverty and social mobility advisor, Alan Milburn, has branded the scrapping of EMA as ‘a very bad mistake’ and said that “Independent evaluations also found that it significantly increased staying-on rates and attainment.” The evidence shows that EMA increased the proportion of young people who stayed in education from 65% to 69% among 16-year-olds and from 54% to 61% among 17-year-olds.

This Early Day Motion calls for the government to restore the EMA, which would require only a modest
investment, but would broaden access to education and benefit the economy as a whole.

I hope that you’ll be able to support us in this campaign – by signing the Early Day Motion, raising the huge negative impact of the scrapping of EMA and by working with us to campaign to bring back EMA.

Yours
sincerely,

INSERT YOUR NAME HERE

INSERT YOUR POSTCODE HERE