EMA and Fees - Chiswick Community School Speaks Out

Hoping 'Nick Clegg will be listening' as Deputy Head and students take part in TV and radio broadcasts

Chiswick Students In Mass Walkout

Interview With Head of Chiswick Community School Tony Ryan

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In recent weeks, members of Chiswick Community School have had the chance to voice their opinions on the abolition of EMA, the possible tripling of university fees and the Government’s cuts to education.

Deputy Head James Whiting made an appearance on BBC Breakfast news on Tuesday 30th November, with Jessica Brown a sixth former, to engage in the contentious debate concerning the abolition of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

The coalition government, who announced their decision to cut EMA in their comprehensive spending review have indicated that it is not worth it's reward.

The scheme was introduced so that students from lower income families could continue into higher education. Students can receive a weekly allowance of between £10 and £30.

On BBC Breakfast Mr Whiting stated that the "incentive and motivation that EMA provides is fantastic, particularly for students whose parents may not have been in sixth form education themselves."

"I've seen it in my own sixth form and that's the most important thing. We are getting students who would not have stayed on in school had it not been for the support that EMA provides," he added.

Year 13 student Robert Berchtold has worries, who has seen the benefits of EMA within the sixth form. "If it does get abolished it will prevent children from financially weaker backgrounds from attending sixth form and higher education."

On Wednesday 8th December, BBC Radio 4’s reporter and researcher Andrew Bomford visited Chiswick to discuss the recent education cuts with Year 13 students Tammy Harris, Robin McMichael and Meg Ruddy, along with Year 12 Louis Freeland-Haynes.

The interview, was broadcast on ‘World At One’ at 1pm on Thursday 9th December, gave the students an opportunity to speak out about the recent removal of EMA, the rise in university tuition fees and the consequent protesting that has occurred over the past few weeks.

"We discussed the EMA and Tuition Fees in great detail. The discussion was good, as it allowed us to get our opinions across to the entire nation.” said student Robin. “I thought everyone was brilliant, we managed to get across the emotion of the subject as well as the actual points of view. It was a great experience.”

The students showed passion in their discussion, defending the Education Maintenance Allowance, voicing their opinion about the education cuts and representing Chiswick well. “It was great to finally be able to voice my opinion on something we all feel very passionate about,” commented Tammy. “Hopefully Nick Clegg will be listening!”

Finally a deputation of students will be voicing their opinions to Mary Macleod, Conservative MP for Brentford and Isleworth, this week at the House of Commons. They will report back to school to their year groups in January.

December 13, 2010

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