Education maintenance allowances: 2016 to 2017

The Education Maintenance Allowances (EMA) programme aims to provide support for young people aged 16 to 19 from low income families to stay on in education.

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3. Methodological Note

Data Sources

29. Education Maintenance Allowance ( EMA) data are collected by the Scottish Government from local authorities which administer EMA payments to school pupils and those on activity agreements, and the Scottish Funding Council, which administers EMA payments to college students. Data returns from Local authorities [5] are collated by SEEMiS, while those collected from colleges are collated and validated by the Scottish Funding Council ( SFC) before being submitted to the Scottish Government.

30. Where analysis refers to institutions rather than schools or colleges, data from both Scottish schools and Scottish colleges have been combined to report on all Scottish institutions.


31. EMA are means tested payments to young people participating in a school or college, or an activity agreement. The data included in this publication cover those who participate in the EMA programme, but not necessarily all of those who were eligible to participate.

32. Although measures are taken within both the school and college data to minimise the chances of more than one record being created for the same student, an element of duplication is likely to still occur where a student moves from school into college in the same academic year. At the moment there is not a reliable way of identifying such cases. Efforts are being made in the long term to improve the collection of Scottish Candidate Numbers ( SCNs) for EMA recipients in colleges. If this succeeds it may be possible to use SCNs, possibly in combination with other student characteristics, to identify those who move between school and college and therefore reduce any associated over-counting.

Age of Recipients

33. In this publication the age of recipient refers to their age as at 30 th September 2016.

Gender of Recipients

34. Gender was not recorded for 15 EMA recipients in 2016-17, 3 EMA recipients in 2015-16 and 4 EMA recipients in 2014-15. In 2013-14, gender was not recorded for 405 EMA recipients, 360 of which were college students.

School Pupil Population

35. The proportion of all 16-19 year old school pupils that are in receipt of EMA is calculated in this publication using public and private school population data for Scotland. This year, the number of pupils aged 16-19 attending an Independent School in Scotland was requested from and provided by Education Scotland. This estimation was then added to the 2016 Pupil Census figure of publicly funded secondary school pupils to achieve an estimate of the total 16 to 19 year old school population, as at September 2016. Pupil Census data can be accessed at this link:

College Student Population

36. The proportion of all full time 16-19 year old college students that are in receipt of EMA is calculated in this publication using Scottish Funding Council data. The definition of full time used is consistent with eligibility criterion for EMA, and the reference age was as at August 2016.

Activity Agreements

37. Activity agreements were rolled out nationally on 1 April 2011. An activity agreement is an agreement between a young person and an advisor that the young person will take part in a programme of learning and activity which helps them to become ready for formal learning or employment ( The young person may receive an EMA in return for complying with this agreement.

38. Within this publication's tables, young people who receive an EMA in return for complying with an activity agreement are included in the School category. This is in line with previous editions of this publication.

Recipients from Deprived Areas of Scotland

39. Analysis of entrants from deprived areas of Scotland is based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD). The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (2016) combines 38 indicators across 7 domains, namely: income, employment, health, education, crime, access and housing. The overall index is a weighted sum of the seven domain scores. The weighting for each domain is based on the relative importance of the domain in measuring multiple deprivation, the robustness of the data and the time lag between data collection and the production of the SIMD.

40. EMA recipients from the 20% most deprived areas are those whose home address was within one of the 20% lowest ranked areas in Scotland. The SIMD is split into 6,976 small areas called Data Zones, with 20 per cent lowest ranked areas comprising of Data Zones 1 to 1,395. A process of postcode matching was undertaken to identify which Data Zones recipients belong to. In 2016-17, 99.7% of recipients were successfully matched through this process. Those recipients whose postcodes belonged to one of the 20% lowest ranked Data Zones in the SIMD are classified as entrants from deprived areas.

41. SIMD 2016 has been used for academic years 2016-17 [6] . SIMD 2012 has been used for academic years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. SIMD 2009 was used for all other academic years.

42. More information on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation can be found at the following web address:

Data Presentation

43. In all tables and figures on recipients have been rounded to the nearest 5 (0, 1 and 2 being rounded to 0). Figures on EMA spend have not been rounded. Unknown values are not displayed individually in tables but are included in totals. Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding and the inclusion of unknown values. Unless stated otherwise, percentages in tables are calculated from unrounded values. Percentages in the text of the publication are calculated from the figures displayed in the tables.

Coverage of Spend Data

44. The financial figures in this publication refer to the amount spent on EMA payments only. This publication does not cover any other costs associated with the EMA programme, such as administrative costs.

45. A small percentage of local authority payments (estimated in previous years to be less than 0.5%) are not recorded on management information systems. These 'manual' payments are excluded from the figures presented in this publication.


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