From education to employment

Improving social mobility through education

Education Secretary Justine Greening

The government today (14 Dec), launched their national plan, to support children and young people to reach their full potential, regardless of background.

The national plan for dealing with social mobility through education, including delivery plans for the first 6 opportunity areas.

The plan – Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential – sets out how we will remove obstacles that could stop people from achieving their potential.

DfE have 5 core ambitions, the first 4 which span across each life phase, and a fifth overarching ambition:

  1. The early years
  2. School
  3. Post-16 education
  4. Careers and guidance
  5. Better educational and career outcomes delivered more evenly across the whole country.

DfE want to deliver this plan working together with all partners across education, business, civil society and beyond. 

1. Closing the word gap in early years

Children with strong foundations start schools in a position to progress, but too many children fall behind early. We need to close development gaps, especially early language and literacy skills, including by boosting investment in English hubs and professional development for early years professionals.

2. Closing the attainment gap in school while raising standards for all

The attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their more affluent peers is closing. But these pupils still remain behind their peers. We will build on recent reforms, and raise standards in the areas that need it most. This will include more support for teachers early in their careers, providing clear pathways to progression, and getting more great teachers in areas where there remain significant challenges.

3. Creating high-quality post-16 choices for all

DfE have more people going to university than ever before, including more disadvantaged young people, but we need to expand access further to the best universities. 

The Social Mobility Action Plan will deliver targeted action where it is needed most, focusing £800 million of government investment on overcoming these challenges.

We need a skills revolution which includes making technical education world class, backed by a half a billion pounds’ investment at the last budget.

4. Helping everyone achieve their potential in rewarding careers

Employment has grown, but we need to improve access for young people from lower income backgrounds to networks of advice, information and experiences of work through a new type of partnership with businesses. DfE will also support adults to retrain or upskill.

5. No community left behind

Where you are born, live, go to school and work remains an important factor in determining where you get to in life – this shouldn’t be the case. DfE will deliver better educational and career outcomes more evenly across the whole country.

Opportunity area delivery plans

The delivery plans for the first 6 opportunity areas outline how DfE plan to build young people’s knowledge and skills and provide them with the best advice and opportunities.

The selection methodology explains how DfE decided which areas would be classified as ‘opportunity areas’.

The selection data spreadsheet presents the data which DfE originally considered when identifying the areas in greatest need.

The 12 opportunity areas are:

DfE announced the first 6 opportunity areas in October 2016 and the second 6 in January 2017. DfE published the delivery plans for the first 6 opportunity areas in October 2017, and the second 6 will be published in due course.

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