Education policy ‘key to social mobility drive’

The BBC is reporting the chairman of the Social Mobility Commission’s call that ministers must put education policy at the centre of the drive to deliver social mobility.

Alan Milburn said an education system in England that left many lacking the skills they needed in the modern labour market must not be tolerated.

He called for a new target that by 2020 at least half of children from poor homes should achieve five good GCSEs.

Speaking at Teach First’s Impact Conference, Mr Milburn also suggested:

  • scrapping tuition fees for teacher training and housing support for existing teachers who worked in the worst schools in disadvantaged areas
  • the lowest performing 20% of schools were given intensive support or had wholesale change in leadership if they continued to fail
  • introducing a new school performance measure in 2018 to track pupil’s destinations into work or continued education

Mr Milburn said at current rates of progress, it would take at least 30 years for the educational attainment gap in schools between poorer and better-off children to halve.

More at: Education policy ‘key to social mobility drive’

What do you think? Is it a reasonable target for at least half of children from poor homes to achieve five good GCSEs by 2020? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter ~ Jon

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  1. The role of education in social mobility is overstated.  Social and economic policies aimed at addressing inequality are more important.

  2. Does anyone know what 5 ‘good’ GCSEs will look like in 2020?  The new GCSEs are labelled with numbers, but which will be regarded as good?  And if only, say, numbers 5 and upwards are ‘good’, then why bother with numbers lower than this?
    When GCSEs were first introduced, there was no suggestion there would be a target of 5 ‘good’ passes.  All grades were passes – obviously Grade A (there was no A*) was far higher than Grade G.  But even the bottom grade showed that a pupil had stayed the course and had achieved a basic level of achievement (bottom of Level One).   Level One (grades G-D) is sufficient for many basic jobs: catering, retailing, cleaning.  But, according to former education secretary Michael Gove, any job not requiring 5 ‘good’ GCSEs isn’t a ‘good’ job.  Typical patronising, even insulting, remark from someone who’ll never have to scrub lavatories, empty wheelie bins or skivvy in hotel kitchens to make a living.

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