Cassie is an FE student in south London. She relies on Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) money to go to college, which the Tories want to cut:
“If I didn’t have EMA I would have left school after GCSEs. Going to college is expensive—you need to buy books and stationery and travel to get there. My mum is a single parent and we’ve never had much money.
“It is really tempting to leave college and try to get a job so you can buy what you want and feel like an adult.
“But life in work doesn’t seem so sweet. If they cut EMA loads of people will quit college.”
Union must fight
Dave Gibson is a teacher at Barnsley College and a member of the UCU lecturers’ union. He joined a coachload of students and lecturers going on Wednesday’s demonstration:
“Some 60 percent of our students get the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) that the Tories have now cut.
“You take it away and fewer people stay and study.
“Over 90 percent of students who get free school meals go on to get EMA at college—so the cuts are affecting the same group.
“It’s vital that the UCU fights to defend the provision of education and the rights of students as well as the jobs and pay of lecturers and teachers. The two go together.”