Publication - Statistics

Education maintenance allowances: 2017 to 2018

Published: 16 Apr 2019
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education, Equality and rights, Statistics

Statistics on Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) recipients and payments made in 2017-2018.

Education maintenance allowances: 2017 to 2018
Appendix B – Methodology note

Appendix B – Methodology note

Data sources

For schools and activity agreements, the Scottish Government collects the data on EMAs from local authorities[6] (the administrators of the EMA payments) and collated by SEEMiS.

For colleges, the data is collected from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), who administer, collate and validate the data.

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.

EMA methodology


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.

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.

School Pupil Population

The number of 16-19 year old school pupils is calculated 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 from the Pupil Census.

Pupil Census data can be accessed at

College Student Population

The number of full time 16-19 year old college students is calculated 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 2017.


The age of recipient refers to their age as at 30th September in the year of study. Although young people cannot receive EMA until they are 16 years old, some are recorded as being 15 for this reason.

Deprived areas of Scotland

Analysis of entrants from deprived areas of Scotland is based on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). SIMD 2016 combines 38 indicators across 7 domains (income, employment, health, education, crime, access and housing). The overall index is a weighted sum of the seven domain scores 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.

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 2017-18, 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.

SIMD 2016 has been used for academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18. SIMD 2012 has been used for academic years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. SIMD 2009 was used for all other academic years.

This is in line with the approach taken by Scottish Governments Education Analytical Services Directorate for School data. The use of SIMD 2016 for 2016-17 differs to the approach taken when publishing University and College Statistics.

More information can be found at

Coverage of Spend Data

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.

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.

Data presentation

In all tables and figures, the number of recipients has been rounded to the nearest 5. Figures on EMA spend have been rounded to the nearest pound. 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 are calculated from unrounded values.