Schools 'doing too little on social mobility'

Just one in seven young people thinks their generation has the best opportunity to move up in society, poll shows

Will Hazell

Members of the public believe that schools should do more to improve social mobility, a survey shows

More than a third of people think schools are doing too little to improve social mobility, a survey shows.

The poll also reveals widespread pessimism amongst young people about their chances of moving up in society, with just one in seven thinking their generation has the best opportunity to do so.

The "Social Mobility Barometer" surveyed 5,520 adults in March. It was carried out by YouGov and paid for by the Social Mobility Commission.

The poll asked respondents which bodies they felt "should be doing more to impact on social mobility and ensure opportunity for all".

Some 36 per cent of respondents felt that schools should be doing more to improve social mobility.

The same proportion thought that employers should be doing more, and over half (52 per cent) thought that central government should be doing more.

The survey shows that just 15 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds think their generation has the best chance of moving up in society. 

Just 13 per cent say their generation will have the best standard of living, and 12 per cent believe they will fare best in terms of personal finances, compared with older generations.

Government 'must do more on social mobility'

Forty per cent of people think it is getting harder for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to move up in society.

The findings of the poll were published to coincide with the launch of the new Social Mobility Commission.

Twelve new commissioners were announced in October, to replace the previous members of the commission, who resigned last year in protest at a lack of government action to improve social mobility.

Dame Martina Milburn, the new chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said: “If we fail to act, too many young people will continue to face challenges getting into colleges, universities and employment.

“We all need to do more to tackle these issues, but there needs to be renewed focus from government, educators and employers.”

Dame Martina announced today that the government has allocated an extra £2 million to commission new research and evidence from next April.

“I am delighted the government is showing its commitment to the Social Mobility Commission by providing an initial £2 million for research and evidence in our first full year of operating as a new commission,” she said.

“This will enable us to start expanding our research base and deliver on our role to promote social mobility throughout the country.”

The commissioners will start drawing up their priorities next week. For their first year, these are expected to include a focus on vocational education and skills.

In the new year the commission will be releasing a social mobility toolkit for employers and, in March, will set out its annual state of the nation assessment of social mobility in Britain.

Damian Hinds, the education secretary, commented: “Whilst potential and talent is evenly spread, the opportunities to make the most of it sometimes aren’t, which is why the work the Social Mobility Commission do is so important and why we are investing £2million to expand its research and spread good practice.

“I look forward to working with Dame Martina and the commissioners as part of our shared vision to improve social mobility.”



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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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