Public First have published new polling for the Sutton Trust on levelling up and social mobility, with a focus on those living in the government’s new Education Investment Areas (EIAs).

The polling examines the public’s views on opportunities for social mobility and levelling up, and explores the measures that the government should take to improve life chances across the country.

The findings suggest that a central pillar of the government’s levelling up agenda should be providing young people in less well-off areas with the educational and career opportunities that they need to succeed, with apprenticeships particularly popular.

According to the polling:

  • Respondents in Education Investment Areas were significantly more likely than respondents in England as a whole to say that their area needs ‘levelling up’ (72% vs 56%) and that their area was neglected (54% vs 44%).
  • Respondents in EIAs were more likely than respondents in England as a whole to say that inequality in the UK as a whole is growing (56% in England, 64% in EIAs).
  • They are also more pessimistic about their children’s future, with just 43% of adults in EIAs saying that young people in their area have the same opportunity to achieve a good quality of life as young people in the rest of the country (versus 53% of adults in England as a whole).
  • When asked which of a list of options would provide the best opportunities for young people leaving education, respondents were more supportive of apprenticeship and training-based routes than university degrees.
  • Respondents in EIAs were almost 50% more likely to say they wanted their children to start a degree apprenticeship (25%) than respondents in England as a whole (17%).
  • When asked what measures the government should take in order to improve the quality of schools in their area, the most popular answer was increasing the amount of funding available in order to increase the number of teachers, either through greater levels of retention or increasing recruitment (45% in England, 48% in EIAs). Tutoring and investing in teacher training and development were also among the most popular options.
  • When asked what the government should do to improve access to higher education in their area, the most popular response among adults in England was to introduce maintenance grants for students from poorer families (44%).

To view the full polling tables, visit:

Media enquiries

If you're a journalist with a question about our work, get in touch with Sam. If it's out of office hours, you can call or text 07791 044 564.

E: [email protected] T: 020 7802 1660

Keep up to date with the latest news