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Social Mobility

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL12186, tabled on 14 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Social Mobility Commission Changing gears: understanding downward social mobility, published in November 2020; and what plans they have to address the Commission's finding that one in five people move into a lower occupational group than their parents.

Answered on

28 January 2021

The government welcomes the Social Mobility Commission’s recent report, ‘Changing gears: understanding downward social mobility’. Spreading opportunity is a top priority right across the Department for Education, every child should have the same opportunity to express their talents and make the most of their lives.

The report highlights the key role education plays in securing social mobility. The government’s approach to social mobility has been to increase opportunity and support higher standards for all pupils. That ambition has underpinned all the department’s reforms to education since 2010, which have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve the highest standards for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. A world-class education system that works for everyone is the surest way to spread opportunity across the country. That is why we are investing over £7 billion more in our schools by the 2022/2023 financial year. This means schools around the country can continue to raise standards to give all children the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Moreover, pupil premium funding, worth around £2.4 billion annually, continues to benefit the most disadvantaged pupils.

Alongside apprenticeships, traineeships, and T levels, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, recently announced the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, which aims to ensure that people across the country can access the education and training they need to succeed throughout their lives. As part of the landmark Lifetime Skills Guarantee the Prime Minister also announced a series of Skills Bootcamps and a lifelong loan entitlement for adult learners. The Skills Bootcamps give people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. The Lifelong loan entitlement will make is easier for all adults to study more flexibly – allowing them to space out their studies across their lifetimes, transfer credits between colleges and universities, and enable more part-time study.

The Social Mobility Commission will be moving to the Cabinet Office from 1 April 2021. The government has always recognised that socio-economic equality goes beyond one department; we want the levelling up agenda to be a cross-government commitment. Anchoring the Social Mobility Commission to a team at the heart of Government re-affirms this commitment.