13 December 2007

Social Immobility

"Parental background continues to exert a significant influence on the academic progress of recent generations of children."

Those from the poorest fifth of households but in the brightest group drop from the 88th percentile on cognitive tests at age three to the 65th percentile at age five. Those from the richest households who are least able at age three move up from the 15th percentile to the 45th percentile by age five. If this trend were to continue, the children from affluent backgrounds would be likely to overtake the poorer children in test scores by age seven.
Since the Sutton Trust demonstrated earlier in the year that Britain has the lowest social mobility of any country you can measure, its latest revelations should hardly come as a surprise. The trouble is, as we have noted previously, many of the proposed mechanisms that might tackle the issue focus on education — but this is the area that Labour appears most to have failed the country.