Social mobility


The report from Alan Milburn makes it clear that there is a lack of social mobility in modern Britain. It is in fact lower than it used to be. The grammar schools used to provide a ladder for talented people from poorer backgrounds, but most of these schools were swept away in a fit of egalitarian enthusiasm which resulted in a levelling down and the closure of opportunities.

There is less social mobility than when Labour took office. The key to social mobility has always been education, but despite an emphasis on "education, education, education," it has largely failed people of disadvantaged backgrounds. The government pressurizes universities to lower admission standards for people from poorer backgrounds, thereby discriminating against talented youngsters who happen to have middle class parents.

This is not the answer, neither a valid nor a fair one. The answer is to raise the standard of state schools so their students can qualify on merit. The way to do this is to forget egalitarianism and to allow a variety of schools to flourish, and enable parents of all backgrounds freely to choose between them, taking the state funding with them. We've published on this before, and will do so again. It has worked brilliantly in Sweden and will do the same here. Roll on a government which will implement it.