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New research evidence on social mobility and educational attainment

Hills, John Robert (2016) New research evidence on social mobility and educational attainment. Social Policy in a Cold Climate Research Notes (SPCCRN09). Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London, UK.

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General educational inequalities between those from different backgrounds declined for those born after 1980. However, when focussing on the highest levels of attainment, gaps have persisted.  There is clear evidence that initially high-attaining poorer children fall behind richer but lower-attaining children between 11 and 16. Much of this is attributable to differences between the types secondary schools attended by richer and poorer children, and some of it to differences in educational values, aspirations and expectations of pupils.  Focussing on children with lower attainment at age 5 but coming from more privileged backgrounds suggests that there is a ‘glass floor’, protecting them from the downward social mobility that might have been predicted. Protective factors include higher parental education, higher maths attainment by age 10, enrolment in private or grammar secondary schools, and reaching university.  Disadvantaged children now do better in London than elsewhere. Improvements started in the mid-1990s, with higher standards at entry to secondary school an important driver of later results. Some of the ‘London effect’ reflects ethnicity and other differences with the rest of the country, but these do not account for the change over time, particularly for higher level qualifications. The progress of London’s ethnic minorities through primary schools is particularly striking.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 CASE & LSE
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I2 - Education > I20 - General
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2024 17:21
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:36

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