State of the Nation 2014: Social Mobility and Child Poverty in Great Britain

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s (SMCPC) recently released, annual State of the Nation report concludes that ‘the next Government will have to adopt radical new approaches to meet what we define as the “2020 Challenge” – tackling poverty, improving social mobility and stopping Britain becoming a permanently divided society.’

The Commission makes 12 key recommendations, many of which the Bridge Builders Mentoring Scheme is already working towards in partnership with schools across the UK:

  • A new focus on quality careers advice, character development and extra-curricular activity in secondary schools
  • Close the gap between poorer and better off children so that by 2020 more than half of the children entitled to free school meals (FSM) are achieving five good GCSEs rising to two-thirds by 2025
  • Universities to close access gap so that by 2020 admissions of students from a FSM background increases by 5,000

The Commission recognises that there has been some progress in these areas such as an improvement in “GCSE attainment for children eligible for FSM between 2005 and 2013” but highlights that “the most disadvantaged are still far more likely to fail to achieve 5 good GCSEs than other children”.

The report also states that “our young people leave school unprepared for work [with] disadvantaged young people [being] over twice as likely to be unemployed or inactive”.

It is the Commission’s opinion that 2015 marks a crossroads with the next government having three options:

  1. Continue with the current confusion where noble ambitions are not complemented by consistent or clear policies
  2. Accept defeat. Progress will not be made, poverty will rise and mobility will fall
  3. Reset ambitions as a whole nation in the light of the current circumstances.

The Commission favours the third option with defined, clear objectives and timescales, and an alignment of resources and policies identified as being necessary to meet the 2020 challenge.

Since its inception, the Bridge Builders Mentoring Scheme has been working in partnership with schools, academies and local authorities to provide young males with the exactly the types of opportunities championed by the SMCPC and those that we believe will close the gap between disadvantaged and other children.

If you would like to work with Bridge Builders Mentoring or would like to know more about us and how we can help your students please contact us on 0333 200 4703.

Helen Robinson