The Cornish Bursary

This Friday, the Children’s Schools and Families Scrutiny Committee (CSF) will discuss the idea of a Cornish Bursary to in parts replace the now reduced Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). Before the current coalition government brutally cut the existing scheme, Cornish students received £6.8m per year in EMA funding. Now, post the cut, this same fund equates to roughly £1.3m.

You don’t have to be a maths student to realise there is still a massive short-fall of £5.5m. Cornwall Council, Well, in truth the Cabinet have agreed a sum of £700,000 per year from 2012/13 to top up the government scheme. This funding will be available for those aged between 16-19 years old. The principle of this council bursary is supporting those most in need.  These include:

1. Young people resident in Cornwall aged 16 – 19 (Students aged under 19 on 31/08/12)
2. Studying a Level 3 Qualification (excluding Work Based Learning)
3. Should not be in receipt of the 16 – 19 Bursary (Government one) as one of the Guaranteed Learners:

• Currently in care
• Leaving care / recently left care
• In receipt of income support in their own name
• Are disabled & in receipt of both Employment Support Allowance & Disability Living Allowance

With any remaining funds, providers may then use their discretion to make awards to young people in ways that best fit the needs and circumstances of their students. Bursary awards should be targeted towards young people facing financial barriers to participation, such as the costs of transport, meals, books and equipment.

The Terms and Conditions of the Cornish Bursary can be found HERE. Also in the document are the authorised schools/colleges and the type of course you need to take to qualify.

On face value the scheme looks like a good idea. However, the money for this bursary has only been secured for two years from 2012/13 to 2013/14. What happens after this? How will the bursary be funded to carry on the potentially  good work in helping educating our children. This is my greatest worry.

It is all well and good starting something that will help, but if this has to stop only a few years later than there is a problem. At Fridays meeting I will be asking how this bursary will be funding post 2014.  And if this money is identified will any other service, or project lose out to continue the bursary.

My guess, and I have heard one or two rumours is the bursary will be funded from the money received from the solar panels Cornwall Council is having fitted to various buildings. Then again, this might not happen if the government slashes the FiT for these smaller projects.

Maybe, if the coalition government (and I blame both sides in it) did not cut the EMA, then Cornwall Council, and most probably many other authorities, would not have to make the hard choice of funding a bursary scheme at the expense of other services/projects.

Roll on Friday….



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