From education to employment

Commission unveils unique data platform to address regional inequality

Teacher in front of whiteboard with students

An exciting innovation which provides a detailed analysis of regional social mobility will be unveiled in Manchester today by Alun Francis, interim chair of the Social Mobility Commission.

The Data Explorer is a unique interactive visualisation tool, developed by the SMC, which breaks down social mobility measures across the UK by geography, gender, ethnicity and disability for the first time.

It could revolutionise policy making by helping education, business and local government leaders to provide coordinated help for disadvantaged families in their region. But it can also be used by the public to better understand the area they live in.

At present there is not enough data to show how education and employment outcomes interact with socio-economic data on a geographical basis. This means that too often national policy on social mobility fails to take account of regional differences which can limit opportunities.

The new tool, which becomes publicly available in September, will be published alongside the SMC’s latest State of the Nation report and bring its findings to life in an interactive way. The report will include a detailed update on social mobility outcomes across more than 40 regions. Early data for the report confirms that there is a large variation across a range of social mobility metrics in the UK. This includes educational attainment and occupational mobility.

Alun Francis, also principal of Oldham College, wants to encourage regional partnerships to draw up policies to boost social mobility:

“The Data Explorer tool will throw up some challenging issues for policy makers,” Mr Francis will say this morning at Greater Manchester Chambers of Commerce. “And it will raise questions about what schools, further education colleges, universities and business leaders can do, working with local government, to address regional inequalities more effectively,”  he will add.

“This is not just a question of the traditional focus on educational pathways into elite jobs.  It is about understanding the combined roles of education and economic opportunity in different places.  It is clear that the challenge of “levelling up” remains, but it is a complex problem and there isn’t a one size fits all approach”.

Today Mr Francis will host a panel of experts in Manchester to discuss how to tackle geographical inequality by working with local partners. Sir Michael Barber, Chancellor of Exeter University and Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility at Exeter University, who will both be speaking, have recently set up the South West Social Mobility Commission. They will present their model at the event to show where regional partnerships can be effective and to discuss whether this could be mirrored across the country.

To attend the event online at 11am register here

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