Next steps for improving social mobility in England - the Opportunity Areas programme, tackling regional inequality affecting young people, and the roles of education and business

| 23 April 2020 | 1:30pm - 8:30am
Online conference
Hosted by: 
Westminster Education Forum

This conference focuses on what more can be done to improve social mobility in England.

It is bringing together stakeholders with key policymakers to assess:

  • next steps for the Opportunity Areas programme, and
  • priorities for policy as the new government pursues its ‘leveling up’ and regional investment agenda.
The context and keynote speakers

The seminar follows the recent publication by the Social Mobility Commission of the Social Mobility Barometer poll for 2019.

The poll highlights a gap in optimism between young people in different areas of England, who were asked if they felt there were good opportunities for them to do well in their region. Only 31% of young people living in the north-east and 48% in the north-west agreed, compared to 74% in the south-east and 78% in London.

The seminar includes a keynote address from the Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, Dame Martina Milburn, who issued a call for increased investment in the regions of England to help social mobility following publication of the poll.

The conference will also be an opportunity to discuss the Commission’s latest state of the nation report following its expected publication in March.

With the DfE announcing late last year an extension of the Opportunity Areas programme for a further year - backed by funding of £18m to target improvement in educational outcomes, careers advice, and teacher recruitment - delegates will discuss the programme so far with.

It comes with recent data from the programme in Bradford indicating that, since its introduction in 2017, 6,000 more students in Bradford are in schools judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted. There will be a contribution from Anne-Marie Canning, King’s College London and Bradford Opportunity Area.