DfE plan for improving social mobility through education: NGN's response

14 December 2017

The Education Secretary outlined four ambitions aimed at putting the improvement of social mobility “at the heart of education policy” today. The plans outline how education can play a key role in delivery equality of opportunity for every child, regardless of where they live.

The ambitions are:

  1. Closing the ‘word gap’ in early years: boosting access to high-quality early language and literacy both in the classroom and at home;
  2. Closing the attainment gap: Raising standards for every pupil, supporting teachers early in their careers and providing clear pathways to progression, as well as getting more great teachers in areas where there remain significant challenges;
  3. High-quality post-16 education choices: creating world-class technical education, backed by £500 million investment, and increasing the options for all young people regardless of their background; and
  4. Rewarding careers for all: boosting skills and confidence to make the leap from education into work, raising career aspirations. Building a new type of partnership with businesses to improve advice, information and experiences for young people.

We welcome the £50 million boost in funding for nursery provision in some of the most challenging areas, enabling more children to benefit from the early education support they need. However, disappointingly, there is no mention of any mental health or wellbeing support for these children living in some of the toughest areas in the country.

Children in poverty are far more likely to experience mental health difficulties than their more affluent peers. Furthermore, young people with mental health problems are more likely to experience problems in their future employment, with various longitudinal studies suggesting long-term impact on economic activity such as a receipt of welfare benefits income and continuous employment.  

Less than a week after the publication of the Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper, this is a missed opportunity to bring mental health and wellbeing at the forefront of both the education and social mobility agenda.

For more information or to share your thoughts please contact us at elisa@nurturegroups.org