The public rate schools above central government, employers and universities as the type of institution that is best equipped to tackle social mobility.
And schools should be doing more to ensure opportunities for all, according to nearly two-fifths of people polled by YouGov for the Social Mobility Commission.
North-South divide: Northern schools 'penalised by Progress 8 tables'
A report by the commission published today reveals that the majority of people (77 per cent) feel there is a large gap between social classes in Britain today.
According to findings contained in the report, almost half of people (44 per cent) say that where you end up in society is largely determined by your background, while a smaller proportion – 35 per cent – feel everyone has a fair chance to get on.
Schools tackling social mobility
And nearly half of respondents think schools are best equipped to have an impact on social mobility (45 per cent), followed by employers (34 per cent) and central government (33 per cent).
But half of respondents (50 per cent) think central government should be doing more to impact on social mobility, followed by local government (38 per cent), schools (37 per cent) and employers (34 per cent).
Just 5 per cent think none of these should be doing more on social mobility.
The report also highlights stark regional differences in attitudes to social mobility, with 78 per cent of respondents in London saying there were good opportunities for people to progress in their region, compared with 31 per cent in the North East.
Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said: “This report from the SMC comes as little surprise.
“For the last nine years, Tory-led austerity has had a devastating impact throughout the country.
“We need real change and meaningful policies. Ministers must focus on securing social justice for all, rather than a leg-up for a few.”
The Department for Education was contacted for comment.