I’m really pleased to see that Simon Hughes has been given the job of making sure that young people aren’t being put off from going into higher education after the tuition fees decision. It’s been shocking to see the nursery for Labour wannabes, the National Union of Students, try to write off the hopes of a generation by implying that no poor person will be able to afford to go to university, when actually graduates on the lowest incomes will pay less under this scheme than they will under the NUS proposals.
Linda Jack, who has been one of fiercest party critics of the Coalition in general and the tuition fees policy in particular, and who works with young people has welcomed Simon’s appointment and explained why it’s vital.
My only real query is why is this only for six months? Surely that role is going to be needed for much longer. For this year, kids are filling in their UCAS forms now for 2011 entry and he should be continuing his tour of schools into the Autumn term this year as the 2012 students will be the first to go in under the new system.
I am particularly comforted that one of Simon’s main jobs will be finding a more effective replacement for Education Maintenance Allowance. The issue with it is how kids who currently leave at 16 can be encouraged to stay on at school. The current EMA goes mainly to kids who would have stayed on anyway.
So, as I said, it’s fabulous that this unpaid role has been created, and I think Simon is the ideal guy for it, but why only six months? It just doesn’t seem long enough.