How Can Education Address The Social Mobility Dilemma?

How Can Education Address The Social Mobility Dilemma?

What's new?

According to the Social Mobility Commission’s State of The Nation Report 2018/19, social mobility in the UK has remained stagnant over the past four years, despite government interventions. This means that young people from low-income homes are less likely to access high-income careers and break the cycle of poverty.

Those from better-off backgrounds are almost 80% more likely to be in a professional job than their working-class peers. Due to this gap in access to professional jobs, people from working-class backgrounds earn 24% less a year. In addition, the report found that even when those from working-class backgrounds are successful in entering professional occupations, they earn on average 17% less than their more privileged colleagues.

These facts can be quite disheartening to young people and people who are working towards improving social mobility. However, it is important that we understand these issues so that we can develop strategies that are effective and sustainable. It may be a complicated issue, but we can start working on it if we make at least two significant changes – improving education and increasing the number of high-income jobs.

Education is key
It comes as no surprise that education has a profound effect on social mobility. The widening gap in attainment between young people from low-income backgrounds and their wealthier peers has far-reaching consequences. 

In fact, a 2019 report from the Education Policy Institute has found that the gap in GCSE attainment between disadvantaged pupils and non-disadvantaged pupils has stopped closing, which strongly correlates with current social mobility figures. This means that by the time they leave secondary school, disadvantaged pupils are now over 18.1 months behind non-disadvantaged pupils.

This huge gap means that young people from low-income backgrounds are not able to access university or other higher education routes, which means that they are shut out from accessing professional and high-income careers, which makes it increasingly difficult to break out of the cycle of poverty.

So how can we close this gap? Well, firstly we can help young people from low-income homes to access tutoring and mentoring programmes. Good tutors and mentors provide an invaluable resource to help young people to understand difficult topics, improve attainment, increase personal development skills, and develop strategies to reach career aspirations and goals. At the moment, young people from low-income homes simply cannot afford a good tutor or mentor. After school tutoring and mentoring programmes in state schools should be funded by the government so that these young people are provided with the same support as their peers from private schools.

State school funding should be increased to improve the opportunities and resources that they can provide to their pupils. This includes more funding for extracurricular activities and more funding for support staff. The University of Bath found that young people who participate in extracurricular activities are able to gain confidence and build up their social skills which is much sought after by employers. They are also more likely to aspire to go on to higher or further education. Unfortunately, the Social Mobility Commission reported huge disparities in children’s participation rates across a wide range of extra-curricular activities depending on their social background, with young people from wealthier families being much more likely to take part in every type of activity especially music and sport. This can be changed if state schools are able to provide access to a wide range of high-quality extracurricular activities.

With more funding, state schools will also be able to employ more support staff. This can help to reduce teacher workload which will increase the contact time between teachers and their pupils. An increase in contact time will give young people more time to understand difficult topics and increase the amount of individual attention given to them. Schools will also be able to employ full-time staff to support their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing needs. The Social Mobility Commission reported that young people from more disadvantaged areas are more likely to suffer from lower levels of wellbeing, which has far-reaching effects on their academic and personal development.

After secondary school, young people from low-income homes also need more support in accessing higher education routes such as colleges and universities. The Government has worked on increasing apprenticeships and will also introduce T-levels and other further education routes. However, according to the report from the Education Policy Institute, this has led to an over-representation of disadvantaged students in further education, which actually damages the government’s ambition of rectifying imbalances between further and higher education. Access to colleges and universities needs to be improved for young people from low-income homes so that they are able to attain the qualifications to allow them to access high-income and professional careers. 

This can be done through the introduction of a student premium to help college and university students from low-income homes, according to an article by London Metropolitan University. University access should also be further improved by increasing access to universities with higher prestige so that young people from low-income homes are able to compete fairly with their wealthier peers when looking for a job.

Increasing the number of high-income jobs
It’s all well and good to improve education and narrow the gap in attainment, but what will happen after school and university when even more young people need to compete for a job in a high-income career field. 

The good news is that over the last few decades, there has been a growth in the proportion of professional jobs and a corresponding decline in the proportion of working-class jobs, with the Social Mobility Commission reporting that nearly half of all current jobs are professional, while less than a third are working class. However, despite this growth, those from high-income backgrounds continue to get most of these top jobs, squeezing out those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

This means that there is still a fierce amount of competition for a high-income career, and if more young people are able to access university and higher education, then the competition will become even fiercer. So, it is imperative that the number of high-income and professional jobs is increased to meet the greater demand so that young people from low-income homes are able to access high-paying careers. It’s also important to increase the number of high-income jobs to allow their wealthier peers to still be able to access high-paying careers. If they are shut out of high-income jobs, it will cause downward mobility which further worsens the issue of social mobility in future generations.

The Government needs to invest in creating more professional jobs by increasing investment in growing industries such as digital and technology, increasing investment in small businesses and entrepreneurship, and attracting more investment by continually developing and strengthening the workforce.

By improving education and increasing the number of high-income jobs, more young people from low-income homes will be able to access high-paying careers, which will stimulate social mobility and break the cycle of poverty for future generations.  The issue may be complex, but it can be solved if the Government, the private sector, and non-profit organisations are able to work together and do their part.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

In the know – Design and Dive Deep!

In the know – Design and Dive Deep!

In The Know What's new?

Help your child to learn how they can turn things they find fun into future career paths through this week’s activities. This week your child will be able to learn about videogame design, explore the deep seas and outer space! Learning while having fun is key to the development of young people and to help them discover their passions, don’t miss out.

Videogame design at the V & A
This week the V & A museum is giving video gamers an exciting opportunity to meet videogames designer Matteo Menapace. In addition to meeting the designer, your child will get to play his latest game prototypes and learn how to use games to explore social issues. This free event is a must-see for young gamers wanting to turn their passion into a profession. Find out more about times and bookings here

Dive Deep at the Science Museum
This underwater adventure takes you through the depths of the oceans! Your child will get to swim with some of the planet’s most unique, dangerous and colourful creatures through this exciting educational 3D experience at the Science Museum. Tickets are £11 for adults and £9 for children. Find out more and book tickets here

Journey through the universe!
In this journey into the universe, the Royal Museums Greenwich planetarium show will allow your child to explore the Big Bang and learn about dark matter! This visually stunning experience will explore galaxies and let you and your child take a trip across space and time while gaining an understanding of the universe. Tickets are £5.35 for children and £8 for adults, find out more here

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

LSE CHOICE helps young people get into university!

LSE CHOICE helps young people get into university!

What's new?

The London School of Economics and Political Science runs a free programme to help young people get into university.

LSE CHOICE gives talented young people from London state schools and colleges the tools they need to successfully apply to LSE and other highly selective universities.

Each year, LSE CHOICE works with 180 students from under-represented backgrounds. Students apply for a place on one of five LSE CHOICE subject streams:

  • Economics
  • Government and Politics
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Sociology

The programme includes a Summer School and Saturday sessions:

Summer School
The non-residential Summer School lasts for five days from 19 – 23 August 2019. Participants study a subject of interest to them and take sessions designed to develop their key skills and critical thinking. Current LSE academic staff and research students, external speakers and experienced subject teachers deliver subject enhancement sessions. It also includes university information sessions which are delivered by staff from the LSE Recruitment and Admissions teams.

Saturday Sessions
The two-hour Saturday sessions run on 16 Saturday mornings during the autumn and spring terms of Year 13. Each session focuses on an important area of the subject, encouraging students to think more broadly about the topic. Participants are expected to use the LSE Library and are also encouraged to attend LSE public lectures.

Participation is free of charge and lunch is provided on each day of the Summer School. Students are given an attendance allowance of £20 for each Saturday session, which includes a contribution towards transport costs.

Would your child like to be a part of this fantastic programme? Find more information hereThe deadline for applications is Sunday 10th March 2019 at  11.59pm.

In the Know – Apprenticeships to accelerate your career!

In the Know – Apprenticeships to accelerate your career!

In The Know Parents What's new?

It’s the beginning of the final term of the year, but we know that most young people are already thinking about what to do after school. One option is to join an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship gives young people hands-on experience, a salary and the opportunity to get a degree in a relevant field. Here are three great apprenticeships for young people finishing their GCSEs or A-Levels this year.

IT Degree Apprenticeship
If your child is looking for an alternative, accelerated path into the IT industry, they should consider this 4 ½ year study and work programme from Capgemini. It includes all the opportunities you need to prepare for a successful career in the IT industry, acquiring technical skills in software engineering as well as broader business-related personal development, and you will receive a BSc (Honours) degree in Digital & Technology Solutions. The closing date for applications is the 8th of June 2018 for the intake in September. Find out more here.

PR & Communications Apprenticeship
This programme from the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency provides an exciting apprentice opportunity for someone looking to develop a career and gain a qualification in communications. This role involves supporting the full range of PR activities, from project management and social media to writing news and digital content. GCSE students may also apply and the closing date is the 23rd of April 2018 for the intake in June. Find out more here.

Business Analyst Apprenticeship
Legal & General Investment Management Ltd is looking for someone with a desire to learn and contribute to become an apprentice Information Systems Business Analyst. You will receive full training, support and development throughout the 2-year program and gain formal qualifications alongside additional training in both the technology and the investment management domains. The closing date for applications is the 27th of May 2018 for the intake in September. Find out more here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Resources for aspiring doctors!

In the Know – Resources for aspiring doctors!

In The Know Parents What's new?

The medical profession will always be considered to be well-respected and noble. You get to save lives and what can be more precious than that? Doctors will always be needed, so there will always be job opportunities. And with the variety of specialisations becoming available, the profession offers a wide array of options. Here are a few useful resources and events for aspiring doctors.

The British Medical Association
The BMA website offers loads of resources for young people wanting to study medicine. It includes information on what life is really like as a doctor, how to apply to medical school, and other common questions on medicine as a career. It also includes useful links to organisations that offer work experience placements, which is vital if you are planning to study medicine as all UK medical schools now require applicants to have experience in a caring or service role in a health or related field. Find out more here.

InvestIN Young Doctor Programme
The Young Doctor Programme aims to give you a deep insight into life as a doctor, both through sessions with current professionals and through practising some key medical tasks yourself. You will also be directed in how to maximise your chances of gaining admission into a top UK medical school. After the programme, InvestIN gives you lifetime access to their platform for you to ask their professionals any questions. The programme takes place on Sunday the 22nd of April 2018 and is for 15-18-year-old students. You can find out more here.

Student Ladder
Student Ladder offers links to work experience and internship programmes. Since most medical and dental schools require you to have some relevant work experience in a health or related field, it is important for young people wanting to study medicine to enrol in a work experience programme. This website provides information on work experience programmes in the medical field and links to existing programmes in the UK. Find out more here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.