Social mobility 'improving' in UK

Other News Materials 3 November 2008 08:22 (UTC +04:00)

Labour's policies may be improving social mobility, according to a study published by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, BBC reported.

It examined the link between parents' earnings and academic achievement for children born in 1970 and 1990.

It said the results "suggest a statistically significant decline in the importance of family background on educational attainment".

Gordon Brown has said improving social mobility must be a "national crusade".

The prime minister has made it a key tenet of his leadership, but he has been accused of presiding over widening class and social divides.

Last year, David Cameron set up an inquiry into social mobility which he said had experienced a "tragic decline" under Labour.

And education charity the Sutton Trust has also claimed that the government's education policy fails to give poorer children the chance to improve their quality of life.

Figures published on Monday by the Strategy Unit suggest that between 1970 and 2000, social mobility neither improved nor deteriorated.

However, findings from Bristol University, the London School of Economics and the Institute of Fiscal Studies seem to show that there have been encouraging signs since then.

They appear to show that a child's academic achievement - measured by the number of GCSEs they pass - is becoming less dependent on their family's wealth.

In June, Mr Brown said a White Paper on social mobility would be published by the end of the year.