What is Social Mobility?
The Social Mobility Commission says:-
"Social mobility is about an individual’s ability to build a good life for themselves, regardless of their background. The more social mobility there is, the less someone’s destination in life depends on where they start out... It is not just about the prospects of those at the very bottom of society.... Social mobility is about fairness at every level of society; it is about whether your background holds you back, whatever your social position. Too often seen as being about only a minority in our country, social mobility is an issue for the majority."
The Social Mobility Index
The Social Mobility Index was calculated on behalf of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. It was first published in 2016, and updated in 2017. It compares the chances that a child from a disadvantaged background will do well at school and get a good job across each of the 324 local authority district areas of England.
It examines a range of measures of the educational outcomes achieved by young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and the local job and housing markets. These shed light on which are the best and worst places in England in terms of the opportunities young people from poorer backgrounds have to succeed. Note that it is very different from the Index of Multiple Deprivation.
Key findings nationally:-
- London and its commuter belt are pulling away from the rest of the country
- Coastal areas and industrial towns are becoming real social mobility 'coldspots'
- Many of the richest places in England are doing worse for their disadvantaged children than places that are much poorer
Key findings for Somerset:-
- West Somerset is the worst performing area for social mobility in the whole of England
- In particular, West Somerset ranks lowest against adulthood social mobility indicators and against Early Years indicators
- Taunton Deane is the highest ranked Somerset local authority (206th out of 324)
Table: Social Mobility Index 2017: Rankings of Somerset local authorities (out of 324) overall and for each of the four life stages
Source: Social Mobility Index 2017, Social Mobility Commission
For more details, including an explanation of the methodology used, please go to the Gov.uk website.
West Somerset has been named as one of six “Opportunity Areas” to receive a share of £60million government funding to help improve social mobility in the area.
Part of this funding will also see West Somerset receive a share of £1million from the Careers & Enterprise Company to help support young people progress into the world of work. This funding aims to ensure that every pupil in a West Somerset secondary school or college meets with four employers during their education. Evidence suggests that this significantly increases rates of employment and earnings.
The funding will see local partnerships formed with early years providers, schools, colleges, universities, businesses, charities and local authorities. The partnership will focus on giving children opportunities to reach their full potential. West Somerset will be given prioritised access to a wider support package to help young people from nursery right through to starting work.
West Somerset is also one of three areas that will benefit from successful bids for the National Collaborative Outreach Programme, which will help raise aspirations for disadvantaged children through summer schools, organising school visits and providing academic mentoring.
More information can be found on the West Somerset opportunity Area web site.