Social Mobility is Flatlining

A report published today by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has delivered some concerning facts and figures. The UK is not currently on track to meet its statutory goal of ending child poverty by 2020, with 2.3 million children living in relative income poverty (that’s 1 in 6). The cost of child poverty is £29 billion a year.

The report, led by former Labour minister Alan Milburn finds that, whilst prices have continued to rise, incomes have been stagnated in real terms since 2003. The National Minimum Wage is now worth £1,000 less in real terms than it was in 2008. This has led to scores of children, who have one or even two working parents, are still falling into the poor category, and there is no sign of them being able to get out of this trap.

Alan Milburn said: “Social mobility – the idea that individuals can better themselves in terms of educational opportunity, job prospects and salaries from one generation to the next – is flatlining.”

The report, which you can download here, is not all pessimism, but it warns that a concerted collaborative effort between the Government, schools, universities and employers is needed to give children from poor backgrounds the best chance of breaking out.

In a specific recommendation to schools, the report says “[We] urge schools to adapt a dual-mandate of raising the bar on standards and closing the gap on attainment with more help for average for low attainers from average from average income families as well as low-income children to succeed in making it to the top, not just getting off the bottom.”

The report recognises the important role that businesses have to play if social mobility is to be achieved in Britain. Specifically, it recommends that “multi-pronged relationships” between businesses and schools are best, such as mentoring and work experience.

Bridge Builders Mentoring has established links with large corporate organisations that can provide excellent mentors to boys from poor socio-economic backgrounds. These are local mentors who have experienced similar challenges in their childhood and have been able to overcome them to be successful business managers. This makes them well placed to inspire and guide these boys towards achieving their own full potential. Please email or call 0333 200 4703 to find out how Bridge Builders Mentoring can help your school.

Helen Robinson