Social Mobility

Department for Education written question – answered on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to improve social mobility.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Improving social mobility remains a critical challenge for our country. It is a challenge that my department is taking significant strides to overcome.

Since 2010, 1.9 million more children are in good and outstanding schools and more disadvantaged pupils are going to university. The attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has reduced by 10% since 2011.

In addition, we are proud to have expanded apprenticeships and to have supported more disadvantaged students into higher education. This will help to boost productivity and to expand opportunities.

Our plans to make further progress include spending £72 million on 12 Opportunity Areas. As my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, mentioned in his speech in July this year, taking action on the home learning environment is also crucial so that children do not fall behind before they start school. That is why he announced plans for a summit with the National Literacy Trust and major businesses in order to find new ways to halve the number of children starting primary school without the necessary literacy skills by 2028.

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