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ERIC Number: EJ899939
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
Not for the Likes of You
Hunt, Sally
Adults Learning, v21 n6 p14-15 Feb 2010
Social mobility has been a big issue for the Government in the last year. Its attempts to address the widening gap between rich and poor and provide opportunities for all have been laudable, but, frustratingly, they have often been confused and opportunities to really make a difference have been ignored. The Government should be applauded though for identifying the best ways to fight the problem. Understandably, it has highlighted education as the closest thing to a silver bullet when it comes to improving people's lives. What the author finds so disappointing is its inability to use everything education has to offer to really improve the lives of the people who could benefit the most. At the end of January a couple of reports were released that looked at the levels of inequality in society. One, commissioned by Harriet Harman and led by Professor John Hills, was described as "an ambitious state-of-the-nation report". The report's findings on education exposed the true extent of the inequality that blights society. It showed that, three and a half years after graduation, a third of people who went to private schools were earning more than 30,000 British Pounds a year, compared to only 12 per cent of people from state schools. Further evidence of private school privilege was apparent in successful applications to Russell Group universities: over half of privately-educated pupils ended up at a Russell Group university, compared to just a quarter of those from state schools. The report also delivered a telling statistic on the likelihood of children in extreme poverty making it to university at all as just 13 per cent of pupils on free school meals at age 15 go to university. With access to higher education still largely dependent on social class, the Government is right to be looking at ways to ensure that people from all backgrounds can reach university. The reality, however, is that unless the Government is prepared to back higher education, reverse plans for damaging cuts and resist calls for students to be plunged into record debt levels, then social mobility plans will remain a fantasy for thousands of families.
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom