Councils respond to DFE’s Social Mobility Action Plan

"Councils want every child to have a good quality of life and be able to improve their circumstances regardless of their background or where they live. It is absolutely right that the DfE is embracing the social mobility agenda, but this goes much further than just education."


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Responding to the launch of the Department for Education’s Social Mobility Action Plan ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:

“Councils want every child to have a good quality of life and be able to improve their circumstances regardless of their background or where they live. It is absolutely right that the DfE is embracing the social mobility agenda, but this goes much further than just education.

“To tackle poverty and promote social mobility, policies cutting across a wide range of areas - such as early years, family support, education, employment support, welfare, public health and housing - need to be considered together and follow people through their lifetime.

“That said, a good education is crucial. Ninety-one per cent of maintained schools are now rated as either outstanding or good, which is a great achievement that must now be acknowledged by central government. Councils should be recognised as improvement partners, and be allowed to help all schools improve where necessary, including academies and free schools.

“To ensure every child has a good school place, councils also must be allowed to direct all schools to expand to meet sharp increases; ensure they take vulnerable pupils if it’s in the child’s best interests; have a say on where new schools are built; and be able to set up their own Trusts to support any orphaned schools forced into becoming an academy if they cannot find a willing sponsor.”