Closing the Regional Attainment Gap

Recently the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility launched its latest report on closing the regional attainment gap. Currently, pupils from disadvantaged areas are lagging behind their classmates by around half a grade per subject at GCSE, affecting their social mobility for the rest of their lives. And this gap varies hugely across the country. While London is pulling ahead in raising attainment, other areas, such as Somerset and Blackpool are being left behind. Our year-long Inquiry examined the problems causing the gap and our report proposes the solutions needed to close it.

You can read more about the report in my recent article with Justin Madders MP discussing how good teaching has the power to kickstart social mobility. Ruby Nightingale from the Sutton Trust has also written a blog which provides a great summary of our findings.

“While London is pulling ahead in raising attainment, other areas, such as Somerset and Blackpool are being left behind. If we want to build a fairer society where everyone is socially mobile, we must do a lot more to close this regional attainment gap.”

“What gets measured gets done”: The Social Metrics Commission’s new Poverty Measure

On the 21st of January 2019, I spoke in a debate on a recent report by the social metrics commission, which has developed a new measure of poverty. I was very pleased that this measure of poverty takes into account the total resources of an individual instead of simply focusing on income as many previous measures have.  This is why I have encouraged the Government to adopt this measure as their official measure of Poverty.

You can read my speech here and watch me speak on parliament live here.

“The measurement of poverty has for too long been a hot potato, with too much time being given to arguing about how and whether to measure poverty and not enough time devoted to taking action to reduce it … I hope that this measure is adopted by political parties and campaigners, but above all by the Government as their official measure of poverty, so that they can put in place meaningful policies to reduce poverty and address the plight of those who suffer from it.”

Overlooked and Left Behind

Yesterday I made a speech in the House of Lords on Social Mobility. Below is a short extract. You can find my speech in full here.

Just over 18 months ago I proposed The Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility. It published its report in April this year, entitled “Overlooked and left behind: improving the transition from school to work for the majority of young people”. I believe this title still says it all. Those young people not pursuing either higher education or apprenticeships – that is, just under half of them – face a system beset by a lack of funding, esteem, guidance and co-ordination. The current system isn’t just unfair on the individual young person, often leading to a life time of missed opportunities. It also damages the UK’s economy and limits our collective human capital. Investing in our young people today has significant long-term economic and social value tomorrow, but only if we get the system right for all.

It’s long overdue.

Focusing on the Transition to Work

Grateful to see more attention being paid to the crucial issue of the transition from school to work for the majority of British youth that don’t go to university – great new report from the Resolution Foundation and the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission chaired by Alan Milburn. You can see it here.

If you missed it, you can read the report of the Select Committee on Social Mobility on the same issue, released last month, on the committee website.

Here’s some press coverage we received: