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if you want to improve social mobility ...

(48 Posts)
AlphaBravoHenryFoxtons Tue 25-Nov-14 14:23:54

bring back the direct grant, so parents can send their children to whichever school they want to, state or private. And if they supplement the direct grant with the pupil premium idea, there could be some serious inroads into social mobility. (So kids from not very well off homes could attend independent schools on full fees.)

Conserative party - just do it. And stop pissing about out-Ukipping Ukip.

OraProNobis Tue 25-Nov-14 14:25:10

<<<gathers popcorn and makes for comfy chair in the corner>>> grin

AlphaBravoHenryFoxtons Tue 25-Nov-14 14:33:57

OraProNobis biscuit

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 25-Nov-14 14:38:36

Who wants to improve social mobility? Almost by definition; no one with any power or money.

HedgehogsDontBite Tue 25-Nov-14 14:49:35

I sometimes wonder if the gains of social mobility are worth the costs.
I'm from a very working class background. Dad left school at 12 and was a manual labourer, mum left at 16 and was a school dinner lady. I grew up on a council estate in Liverpool. But I got to go to a very posh public school via the assisted places scheme. I went to a good university where I met my professor husband. We now have a comfortable middle class life. All good except I am now so far removed from my roots that I have pretty much no relationship with my family and the community I left behind. I feel so lonely most of the time.

Degustibusnonestdisputandem Tue 25-Nov-14 14:53:34

MrsTerryPratchett agreed. the status quo is working just fine for them!

wonderstuff Tue 25-Nov-14 14:54:34

Would it not be better to focus on improving state education? I imagine that a direct grant would only allow mobility to those with the power to top it up - so not really the poorest. I don't imagine £900 a year pupil premium goes very far towards private education. Add to that that children on PP are twice as likely to have special needs as those not on PP..

I think we should tax inheritance much more, and inherited wealth, money gained from property and then raise the NMW to a living wage. Make everyone more equal.

Babycham1979 Tue 25-Nov-14 14:57:31

Quite right, MrsTerryPratchett, the powers-that-be hate the fact that real social mobility means movement in both directions, and that increasing it raises the chances of their beloved little mediocre offspring losing-out to their more able peers.

Similarly, it's always struck me that the most vocal opponents of grammar schools are the safely ensconced middle-classes who are terrified of their progeny being exposed as academically-challenged, and ending-up in a comp with the local oiks. It's far safer for them to maintain the status-quo of house prices and school fees, which consolidates their position in the social order.

To answer your original question OP, you may be right to an extent. Unfortunately, it would still benefit the children of pushy helicopter parents at the expense of those poor sods whose parents didn't know or care how to play the system. Pushing a bright, poor kid through the eleven plus, and into a decent grammar school would encourage greater mobility.

DoraGora Tue 25-Nov-14 14:58:19

Would it help if we tried, a little, to define the problem (apart from access to good schooling) that you are referring to? I remember the miners fighting tooth and nail to remain miners. I remember lines of car workers looking disconsolate and unsure of whether or not their plants would reopen the next day, or even the next month. Unless we're careful, social mobility can be just a slogan. There are opposite ideals like roots, community, tradition, belonging and so on.

manicinsomniac Tue 25-Nov-14 15:02:01

How would you choose between the thousands of children who all wanted to attend the same school?

WordAtlas Tue 25-Nov-14 15:04:19

To improve social mobility we need to address the needs of "mediocre offspring" of feckless parents. The "bright poor kids" will find a way to improve their chances and achieve good results.

wonderstuff Tue 25-Nov-14 15:10:55

I think addressing social inequality would be a start.

WRT miners - what they wanted was a job - to be able to provide for families - they didn't want their children to become miners.

The fact is that when you look at British surnames and trace them back a thousand years then you find the same elite and the same poor - with some exceptions. Now it may be that the rich kids are cleverer - but looking at the current front bench I doubt it.

Grumpyoldblonde Tue 25-Nov-14 15:11:14

Who wants to improve social mobility? Almost by definition; no one with any power or money.

Over and over and all day long. There is, I feel something rather sinister going on within this country right now, a creeping unease that I have not had time to fully explore as a thought. I used to think the expression "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer" was a simple soundbite - now, no.
I hope maybe someone can express what I feel better than this and I can learn something from their take.

FloatIsRechargedNow Tue 25-Nov-14 15:11:58

More grammar schools
More technical colleges
More creation of technical-orientated education from age 14
More university scholarships, bursaries and grants for low-income students.
University Fees on a sliding scale according to income - the lowest being £1,000pa rising to £20,000pa for the well off.
An increase in funding for post-graduate students from low-income homes.

Babycham1979 Tue 25-Nov-14 15:12:13

Sorry Wordatlas, but the 'needs' of the mediocre offspring of the middle-classes are amply catered for (and then some).

As I said, the stark reality of social mobility (if you take it as anything more than a limp slogan), is that it goes both ways. In a healthy society, a significant proportion of the kids of the bourgeoisie move down the social scale.

It is the venal self-interest of the ruling and technical classes that have conspired to further a system that prevents this from happening. Hence the sclerosis and, subsequently, the lack of opportunity for poor, bright kids to move onwards and upwards.

For information, we are one of the least socially mobile nations in the developed world. And, we've got worse over the last few decades!

DoraGora Tue 25-Nov-14 15:13:13

If we catered for the needs of mediocre offspring and poor bright kids, that would suggest that we were living in a meritocracy, which we're not. So, if we educated all children according to their academic potential, regardless of the existing external opportunities, would we have done ourselves any favours? Raising an entire generation of extremely well informed radicals doesn't strike me as a very smart way to run a country.

Babycham1979 Tue 25-Nov-14 15:13:38

Oops. And here's the link to support that assertion (private school might have made me a more conscientious MN poster!)

Pootles2010 Tue 25-Nov-14 15:14:29

I read a piece by Zoe Williams ages ago, which was basically saying that rather than just look at social mobility (which I totally agree we should, btw) we should also look at making it not shit at the bottom.

No one in the country should be in poverty. It should be possible to live a perfectly happy and content life whilst still being working class or whatever you want to call it. Why does high grades, amazing career, oodles of money, have to be the ideal?

If it wasn't so unbelievably shit being on minimum wage/zero hours contract etc then there wouldn't be such fear about not 'succeeding'.

CuttedUpPear Tue 25-Nov-14 15:15:13

Are social immobility and social inequality the same thing?

DuchessDisaster Tue 25-Nov-14 15:16:43

I went to a Direct-Grant Grammar in the 60s and 70s. Fees were on a sliding scale and there were scholarships. We had a very broad social spectrum with over 95% of leavers, from all walks of life, going on to higher education.
Having said that my school was ultra selective and even if you started in Kindergarten (which I did aged 4.75) there was no guarantee that you would get into Lower III (aged 10 to 11) let alone senior school. 2 of my friends were asked to leave at the end of junior school.

Babycham1979 Tue 25-Nov-14 15:16:54

Raising an entire generation of extremely well informed radicals doesn't strike me as a very smart way to run a country.

Really? And why not? Better than a nation of conservative ignoramuses, surely? Radicalism and disruption are the dynamos of modern economies (Victorian England, 21st Century Silicon Valley etc). Although, I have to ask what's so radical about pursuing meritocratic ideals in the first place?

Babycham1979 Tue 25-Nov-14 15:18:46

Cutteduppear, I'd refer you to the graphic at the top of my Graun link; 'countries that are less equal also have less social mobility'

WordAtlas Tue 25-Nov-14 15:19:11

Babycham, it is much easier to control an uneducated crowd without any aspirations. ..

TeWiSavesTheDay Tue 25-Nov-14 15:20:41


I'd much rather all children had a good education in good quality state schools.

DoraGora Tue 25-Nov-14 15:21:41

Generations of families were miners and shipbuilders and were proud to be so. I'm not sure exactly what pp was referring to when she said that they didn't want their children to be miners. Due to the disappearance of so many once dominant industries and the displacement of the workforce by offshoring and so forth, the traditional working class is barely recognisable today. I'm not sure if this conversation is really about social mobility at all, or perhaps more reasonably could be described as one about existence.

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