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Education not the only solution to persistent deprivation in England

Education not the only solution to persistent deprivation in England

A new report published today by England’s Social Mobility Commission suggests that education alone will not close the social mobility gap in areas of very low social mobility. 

The study found that there are large differences across areas in England in both adult pay of earners from disadvantaged families, and the size of the pay gap relative to those from more wealthy families. 

In areas of high social mobility, disadvantaged individuals at 28 years old earn twice as much as their counterparts in the lowest mobility areas. In these areas, educational achievement accounts for most of the earnings gap. 

However, in the least mobile areas, the study reports, up to 33% of the pay gap is driven by non-educational factors, making it much harder for individuals to escape deprivation. The authors suggest that reducing educational gaps would reduce pay gaps, but would not reduce differences in mobility across localities. 

Labor markets in areas with low life chances are typically characterized by fewer professional and managerial occupations. In addition, such areas have fewer good schools, more areas of deprivation and moderate population density. To equalize opportunities across the country, the authors urge government to target support on these areas to improve overall social mobility outcomes.

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