25 May 2007

Upwardly Mobile

Whatever happened to social mobility?

So ask the shadow ministers for charities, Greg Clark, and for disabled people, Jeremy Hunt, in The Spectator, echoing David Willetts' recent CBI speech. They conclude:

"To have governed for a decade and seen the poorest grow in number and fall further and further behind the mainstream is little short of a disaster for a government whose moral purpose was to advance social justice. After ten years, Tony Blair has admitted ‘we need a radical revision of our methods for tackling social exclusion’. He is right. The enduring solutions to Britain’s social problems lie not in big government, but in healthy communities, strong families and in harnessing the dynamism and enthusiasm of individuals to improve their personal situation."
The question, of course, is what specific policy ideas might help reverse the decline in social mobility. Proposals that have been made in recent months, some referred to by the authors in their article, include:
  • Increase home ownership
  • Encourage personal pensions and savings
  • Introduce a free school transport system
  • Reduce means-testing for families with several children at school
  • Delay secondary school application until after grammar school selection
  • Integrate state religious schools into non-denominational education
  • Improve the quality of vocational training
As you can see, most of these focus on education. If you wish to comment on any of these suggestions, do so in the comments here; otherwise, if you have any others, you might prefer to submit them for inclusion in David Cameron's Blizzard of Ideas.


The Stonemason said...

Education, education, education is the key. Coming from a long line of landless urban poor in South west England, my father grabbed the opportunity of a grammar school education offerred to him in the 1930s. From there he progressed to university and established himself - and his family - in the professional classes; ensuring that all his children also acquired a degree level education. Now I have my own two children at state primary school and I am spending thousands of pounds on extra tuition to get them properly grounded in the 3 Rs, not so they can get places at the now extraordinarily competitive grammar schools but just to reach a standard that would have been common 30 years ago. Of all the New Labour governments failure to deliver, the failure of 'Education, education, education' must be one of the most lamentable.

Devon Lee said...

Ten years too late, the Government finally gets it: "There is strong evidence that good parenting is good for children." [Department for Education and Skills 2007 annual report]