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Education in the media: 16 November 2016

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Attainment gap, Careers, Childcare, Further education, Higher Education, School spending


Today's news review looks at a report into social mobility.

Social Mobility Commission

This morning, 16 November, the Social Mobility Commission published its annual State of the Nation report into the factors that contribute to or alleviate social mobility issues in Britain. The report is wide ranging and looks at education, work, housing, benefits and more. It calls on the Government to deliver a 10-year social reform plan.

So far, the story has been covered online by media including the BBC, the Guardian, Sky News and the Independent, all of which lead on the suggestions in the report that Britain’s social mobility problem is “getting worse for an entire generation of young people”. Newspapers including the Independent and the Sun also ran short articles this morning ahead of the report’s launch, focusing on a YouGov poll which found that 45% of those questioned believe that success in life is determined by background and not hard work.

This Government has placed social mobility high on its agenda, as the Commission’s chair Alan Milburn himself recognised when he said: “We applaud the Prime Minister’s determination to heal social division and foster social progress.”

We’ve already made great progress to date:

  • We are helping people get into work –the best route out of poverty – and giving the lowest paid workers a pay rise through the new National Living Wage.
  • The employment rate in the UK continues to run at a record high of 74.5%, with wages rising faster than inflation. There are 31.8 million people now in work – up by more than 560,000 in the past year.
  • We are doing more than ever to support families with the cost of childcare, giving working parents up to 30 hours of childcare a week for three and four year olds, backed up by a record £6 billion per year investment in childcare by the end of the Parliament and tax-free childcare worth up to £2,000 per child per year.
  • More than 335,000 households having been helped by the Government to buy a property since 2010.
  • The pupil premium – worth £2.5bn this year – has seen the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their better off peers fall both in primary and secondary education.
  • There are there are 1.4million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010
  • We are consulting on ways make more good school places available in more parts of the country – including scrapping the ban on new grammar schools – so that all children can access an education that unlocks their talents.
  • We’re piloting six ‘opportunity areas’ that will get funding and support to tackle social mobility in their schools.
  • We are seeing the benefits of our work so far, with record numbers of disadvantaged students going to university and more focus on high quality apprenticeships and technical qualifications available for young people.

A Government spokesperson said:

We want to make this a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. Whether it's education, jobs, or housing, this means giving families more control over their lives - and doing more to help those who are just managing.


As the PM said on the steps of Downing Street, this Government is committed to fighting injustice wherever it arises – and ensuring that everyone in our country has the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them. We will consider the recommendations in the report.

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