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Teenage mothers and young people with special needs : evidence from the Education Maintenance Allowance Pilots Database

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posted on 30.10.2006, 14:08 by Kim Perren, Sue Middleton
This report uses quantitative data collected as part of the evaluation of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) Pilots to follow the life course trajectories of two groups of vulnerable young people as they aged from 16 to 18. Part A investigates the experiences of young women who had a child, or were pregnant, when they were first interviewed a few months after finishing compulsory education. Part B outlines the transitions of young people who had special educational needs and/or a health problem that limited their daily lives. The EMA evaluation was designed to yield a random sample of two cohorts of young people in ten pilot areas and 11 control areas. The two cohorts finished compulsory education in the summers of 1999 and 2000 respectively and were interviewed three times at yearly intervals, that is, when they were approximately 16, 17 and 18 years old. About a quarter of the young people in the full sample were ineligible for EMA on the grounds that the income of their parents exceeded £30,000 a year. These relatively affluent young people were excluded from this report for two reasons. Firstly, this facilitates an exploration of how EMA affects the choices made by vulnerable young people. Secondly, the two vulnerable groups tended to have parents with low or moderate incomes; consequently, the removal of high-income households increases the similarities between vulnerable and non-vulnerable young people. This selection process resulted in a sample of 7415 young women and 7319 young men. This sample has been weighted to be representative of all EMA eligible young people (from these cohorts) in the pilot and control areas. In both parts of the report, the analysis commences with a retrospective look at the Year 11 experiences of the vulnerable group and compares their situation to that of their ‘nonvulnerable’ counterparts (respectively, young women who were neither mothers nor pregnant (Part A) and young people who had neither special needs nor a limiting health condition (Part B)). This is followed by an account of their economic activity a few months after the end compulsory education. Finally, the report concentrates on the experiences of young people who remained in the study until the age of 18.


Department for Education and Skills



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Research Unit

  • Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP)


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PERREN, K. and MIDDLETON, S., 2005. Teenage mothers and young people with special needs : evidence from the Education Maintenance Allowance Pilots Database. Department for Education and Skills research report ; 629. Loughborough : Loughborough University


© Loughborough University

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This report is also available electronically at: www.dfes.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR629.pdf



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Department for Education and Skills research report;629



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