2020 session: What next for social mobility?


On 16 July 2020, the APPG held a virtual meeting on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic titled What next for social mobility? The impact of coronavirus and beyond.


The session focused on the impact of the Covid-19 on education and social mobility, looking at the early years, schools, further education and university access.

The APPG were pleased to host:

  • Dr Chris Pascal, Co-founder and Director at the Centre for Research in Early Childhood
  • Jo Hutchinson, Director for Social Mobility and Vulnerable Learners at the Education Policy Institute (EPI)
  • Kirsti Lord, Deputy Chief Executive at the Association of Colleges
  • Laura Bruce, Director of Programmes at the Sutton Trust

Each panellist spoke about the impact coronavirus has had on disadvantaged children and young people in their education stage of focus. This was followed by a Q&A session which covered issues ranging from international students, the role of Ofsted and collaboration across the education sector.

Catch up on the minutes of the session.


The Co-Chairs of the APPG on Social Mobility, Justin Madders MP and Baroness Tyler of Enfield, wrote to the Chancellor urging the Treasury to prioritise social mobility in the spending review. The letter sets out the APPG’s key policy recommendations from early years to the workplace to improve opportunities for disadvantaged young people.

2019 hearing: State of the Nation


The APPG on Social Mobility hosted Dame Martina Milburn, the Chair of the Social Mobility Commission, to discuss the findings from its State of the Nation 2019 report.


Ali Jaffer and Lindsay Turner Trammell, Heads of Policy and Innovation at the Social Mobility Commission did a short presentation recapping their recent State of the Nation report. This was followed by a question and answer session that touched on some common threads including cross party and cross departmental co-operation, local, regional and national perspectives, as well as early years and parenting.

Catch up on the session through our blog, or read the minutes from the session.

2017-18 inquiry: Closing the Regional Attainment Gap


This inquiry looked at the gap in attainment between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and their classmates and why this gap is more pronounced in different parts of the country.

The inquiry ran from November 2017 – June 2018, encompassing three evidence sessions held in Parliament and a call for written submissions. Closing the Regional Attainment Gap summarises the evidence submitted to the report in both written and oral form, and makes a series of practical policy recommendations to tackle the issues highlighted.

Session One

The first session presented an overview of the regional attainment gap. There was discussion about where the disparities lie and what underpins them, as well as why narrowing this gap is so important for increasing social mobility. Read the minutes minutes of the first session or catch up with our blog.

Session Two

The second session explored regional examples of best practice, including from the London Challenge, the Somerset Challenge and the Norwich Opportunity Partnership. Read the minutes of the second session or catch up with our blog.

Session Three

The third session built on the evidence gathered from previous sessions, hearing from Justine Greening MP, James Turner Deputy Chief Exec at the EEF, Prof Rebecca Alan, and Prof Kathy Sylva. Catch up on the session with our blog.

2016 inquiry: Class Ceiling


Following the publication of our report Leading People 2016, the Sutton Trust worked with the APPG on Social Mobility to lead a parliamentary inquiry into access into leading professions. The inquiry explored what is being done to increase access for those from disadvantaged backgrounds into leading professions such as law, finance, medicine, journalism and politics, and what more could be done.

Class Ceiling summarises the evidence submitted to the report in both written and oral form, and makes a series of practical policy recommendations to tackle the issues highlighted.

Session One

This session explored the perception that law, finance and professional services are dominated by people from particular socio-economic backgrounds. The session asked whether this is the case, how we can address the issue if so, and what is being done by charities and the professions to widen access. Panelists included representatives from the charity sector, as well as senior representatives from the professions themselves.

Session Two

This session investigated why the medical profession is recruiting such a disproportionate number of people educated in the independent sector. The issue of access into medicine emerged as one of particular interest following the publication of the Sutton Trust’s report Leading People 2016. This session included representatives from across the medical profession from organisations such as the Medical Schools Council, the Royal College of Nursing and a junior doctor.

Session Three

This session of the inquiry explored how politics and the civil service could be more representative of society so that people do not feel alienated from them, as recent developments suggest they could be. Panelists included Dan Jarvis MP (Parliamentary Champion of the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme), beneficiaries of the scheme, and Cabinet Office Minister Ben Gummer MP.

Session Four

This session of the inquiry explored challenges for accessing the entertainment and media professions, with some discussion regarding unpaid internships, and an agreement that there was a need for a more diverse group of people producing the news that we consume. This session saw senior representatives from the media and arts sector including actor Michael Sheen, as well as the National Council for the Training of Journalists, Sky News and ITV.

Contact the APPG on Social Mobility

To find out more about the work of the APPG on Social Mobility, please get in touch with Ruby.

E: [email protected]

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