The Sutton Trust’s Mobility Manifesto sets an ambitious agenda to put social mobility at the heart of the 2019 election campaign, calling on all political parties to recognise the urgent need to address Britain’s low mobility problem.
It contains wide-ranging policies covering everything from fairer school admissions, to early education and widening access to universities. It also urges a ban on unpaid internships, along with more degree and higher apprenticeships, as well as best practice in widening access in employment.
- The Government should review its 30 hours of free childcare policy to ensure that childcare entitlements do not exclude the most disadvantaged families. The emphasis on eligibility should be shifted from high income families to those on lower incomes.
- State school admissions should ensure a better social mix across the system, with consideration given to ballots and priority for disadvantaged students, particularly to open up high performing comprehensive and grammar schools.
- Independent schools should be opened up, on a voluntary basis, to pupils from all backgrounds. Entry to 10 leading independent day schools should be democratised through implementation of the Open Access Scheme, where places are allocated based on academic merit alone, not money.
- The new government should establish an evidence-led fund to support young people with high academic potential in state schools, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- State schools should be funded and incentivised to develop essential life skills in their students both in and out of the classroom, with time allocated for their development, through the curriculum and extracurricular activities.
- There should be a focus on increasing the number of degree and higher level apprenticeships as an alternative to university, and on ensuring young people from low and moderate income backgrounds can access them.
- Contextual admissions should be used by more highly-selective universities to open up access to students from less privileged backgrounds. Current use of contextual data should be improved by more transparency and consistency, better quality individual indicators and more ambitious grade reductions.
- Post Qualification Applications (PQA) to university should be implemented to allow young people to make an informed choice based on their actual rather than predicted grades.
- Maintenance grants for students should be restored to at least pre-2016 levels to provide support for those who need it most and reduce the debt burden of the least well-off.
- The government should ban unpaid internships, ensuring that after 4 weeks, interns are always paid the Minimum Wage, or preferably the Living Wage.