Bird & Bird Advises On “Earn As You Learn” Scheme


International law firm, Bird & Bird has been working with the Department for Education and Skills on the Educational Maintenance Allowance project. This was launched nationally in April. A key feature of the project is establishment of a national assessment and payment facility under a contract awarded to Capita Business Services Limited in September 2003.

Under the project, eligible Year 11 students in England can apply for an Educational Maintenance Allowance of up to £30 a week. The Educational Maintenance Allowance is part of a range of measures designed to help reverse secondary school drop out rates and encourage pupils to stay in education for longer.

Andrew Battarbee, Head of the Education Maintenance Allowance Unit at the Department for Education and Skills commented: “We are very pleased with Bird & Bird’s support throughout the procurement of this project. They brought to it a rigorous approach aimed at identifying the key issues and risks and dealing with them effectively. They combined this with a thorough understanding of our culture, objectives and risks.”

Commercial IT partner Peter Elliott, who headed the team at Bird & Bird added: “It is a really exciting project, with the potential to bring real benefits both to the individual pupils eligible for EMA and in the longer term for society as a whole. At the same time, any scheme of this scale and nature raises a number of knotty issues. We were delighted to be able to help the Department with such a worthwhile project.”

The team included commercial assistant Elizabeth Brownsdon and employment assistant Jeremy Nixon.

For any more information, please contact Peter Elliott on +44 (0) 20 7415 6000 or Larry Cattle on + 44 (0) 20 7415 6156.