The Social Mobility Commission’s report late last year highlighted issues of social mobility across the country, raising concerns about attainment, higher and further education attendance, and access to the jobs market in rural and coastal areas. County Councils Network (CCN) analysis shows that 52 out of the 65 social mobility ‘cold spots’, as outlined in the report, were based in counties.
Despite the introduction of an uplift in funding for all schools in the ‘new schools funding formula’ last year, the gap in funding per pupil between counties and inner London will rise this year to 43.46%; with county schools receiving the lowest funding per-head compared to any other local authority type. At the same time, attainment of children who receive free school meals, or children in care is significantly lower in counties, whilst less go on to further education. These issues have come at a time when demand for children’s services in rural areas has risen significantly over the past few years.
Localis’ recent work on the Industrial Strategy and ‘stuck communities’ explores social mobility issues across England.
The joint inquiry is open for evidence until Thursday, May 10. This evidence will form the basis of a report to be published later this year.
Visit our dedicated inquiry page here to download the full call to evidence form.
The inquiry will focus on what opportunities are available to young people in counties; specifically on provision and impact of early years, education, skills, and jobs.
The CCN provides the secretariat for the County All Party Parliamentary Group and will provide research and secretarial support for the inquiry. Localis will be providing new insights and research to drive the report’s narrative. All three organisations say they are particularly interested to hear case studies from county authorities who are seeking to improve social mobility in their areas.
Peter Aldous MP, chairman of the County All Party Parliamentary Group, said:
“Last year’s State of the Nation report provided an important overview of the social mobility postcode lottery in England, illustrating that many of our great counties are being left behind.
“This inquiry aims to provide new insights on how we can improve life chances for our young people living in counties, and how we can ensure rural workers have the skills to do the jobs of tomorrow.”
Liam Booth-Smith, chief executive of Localis, said:
“Establishing a sense of aspiration in everyone should be a cornerstone to building a country that works for everyone.
“Our recent research has honed in on some of the very real social and economic challenges faced by parts of the country – areas that are stuck or sliding into insignificance.
“For Localis this is about how we raise the level of aspiration and opportunity in those places.”