Magazine article Public Finance

Social Mobility Policy Is 'Not Radical Enough'

Magazine article Public Finance

Social Mobility Policy Is 'Not Radical Enough'

Article excerpt

A government drive to improve die aspirations of young people and boost social mobility has been criticised by experts for not being radical enough.

Former health secretary Alan Milburn published a report last year on fair access to professional careers, such as the civil service, law and medicine. Ministers this week said they had accepted the majority of his 88 recommendations.

But major recommendations from the report, which was commissioned by the prime minister, were shelved. These included closing Connexions, the government's careers service, and using tax incentives to encourage employers to open up work experience to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Lee Elliot Major, research director at education charity the Sutton Trust, told Public Finance that 'far more radical reforms' were needed to address social mobility, with access to the professions fonrting only one strand. He said early years and pre-school education in particular should be addressed.

He also called for a 'far more fundamental review of careers advice in schools', advocating a network of independent careers advisers, supported by councils. '[Careers advice is] such a crucial issue because the type of qualifications and subjects you take at 14, or even earlier, determine your options later on,' he said.

The Milburn panel, which said it 'barely heard a good word' about the Connexions service, proposed transferring its £250m funding to individual schools, but the idea was rejected by the government

Teaching unions said the government's policy to increase social mobility was inconsistent with its planned spending cuts. …

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