It has been another busy few weeks for social mobility with many new publications released and announcements set out that have had an effect on its progression across the UK. Below are brief summaries of some of the key pieces of information and reports that illustrate the need for the social mobility movement throughout the country:
Department for Education – University Boost Announcement:
The Minister of State for Universities announced an additional £50 million to support university students. This is in addition to the £20 million that was promised in December 2020 and will go towards supporting “students facing financial hardships” due to the pandemic. With young people being hit the hardest during this pandemic, facing challenges from online learning to jobs loses, this supplementary support will go towards easing these challenges whilst ensuring that the most vulnerable of young people are given a chance to succeed in these times.
Social Mobility Commission – Annual Review & Business Plan 2020:
The Social Mobility Commission published their Annual Review & Business Plan 2020 report last week, which highlighted the key social mobility milestones that they have achieved from 2013 to 2020. When looking at 2020, with a key focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission demonstrate the social mobility initiatives they have undertaken over the years, as well as showcasing how these measures are helping to progress the social mobility agenda – however, as they have stated, more needs to be done.
To read the report, click here.
NEON – Defunding BTECs:
A new report from NEON (the National Education Opportunities Network) shows that decreasing the funding available for BTECs will potentially have a devastating impact on the attainment levels of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The report examines the damning data recorded, showcasing that between 2011 to 2020, “the percentage of the students entering Higher Education with these (BTEC/A-Level BTECs) qualifications has fluctuated between 25 and 30%”. It also highlights the significance of these qualifications on the BAME community, as in 2020, from “12,615 18-year-old black students entering HE with A-Levels, 33% did so with either BTECs or A-Levels/BTECs”- indicating the negative repercussions defunding could bring. The report emphasises the importance of these qualifications on the advancement of social mobility, the consequences of decreasing funds for them could reverse the work that has been done to close the widening gap to access to Higher Education by “years, or even decades”.
To read the full report, click here.
EEF – Online Tutoring Report:
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published a new report, in collaboration with Impetus, The Sutton Trust and Nesta, that evaluates how achievable online tutoring is in supporting disadvantaged young people in their education throughout the school closures due to COVID-19. The report summarises the benefits to online tutoring, albeit limited, as there is still a large number of young people who cannot afford the technology needed to study from home and are facing barriers to facilitating remote learning. EEF highlights that “48% of schools reported that a lack of equipment was making it difficult for some learners in their school to take part in the online tuition.”
Check out the full report here.
UK Social Mobility Award Business Seminar:
Along with these reports, the UK Social Mobility Business Seminar has announced the date it will take place on. The third annual Seminar will be an online event transpiring on the 21st April 2021. This event is a great opportunity for organisations to get together and get involved in the necessary conversations taking place around how to make a change in the social mobility sphere. Confirmed for the Seminar so far is the opening address from Nadhim Zahawi MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Business and Industry, and Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, as well as participation from the Social Mobility Commission. With much more to be confirmed, we cannot wait to hear the discussions taking place on the exciting and innovative ways to make social mobility a fundamental part of how UK organisations are run.