Social mobility in Huntingdonshire schools is among worst in country, report reveals
PUBLISHED: 09:43 06 December 2017
Huntingdonshire has been named the 11th worst area in England for school-related social mobility in a new report.
Parts of the region were generally in the bottom third of classifications in the Social Mobility Commission’s report State of the Nation 2017: Social Mobility in Great Britain.
The report, which shows where people from disadvantaged backgrounds are most and least likely to make social progress, describes Britain as a “deeply divided nation”.
Huntingdonshire was highlighted in a “coldspot” table of worst performers set against school social mobility indicators, ranked 11th out of 32 mentioned, with neighbouring Fenland rated 6th worst.
The East of England was described as an “average performer” in every life stage but outcomes varied widely across the region, with areas closer to London doing well, with high proportions of people with top jobs and high wages.
Schools performed third worst at key stage 2 level and there were said to be poor performances in the north of Cambridgeshire.
But the area did better on the work front, with the report saying: “In working lives the London commuter belt and the area surrounding Cambridge pull ahead off the rest of the region. Residents in these areas are more likely to be in managerial and professional jobs and earn a higher than average median wage than the rest of the country.”
Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly said: “I am encouraged that the report recognises that Huntingdonshire is in the top quartile of best performing areas in the country in terms of access to high-skilled, high-paid jobs and levels of affluence leading to higher than average rates of home ownership. In the Huntingdon constituency, the unemployment rate is just 0.8% of the population.
“I think it is important to note that one of the Government’s biggest priorities is ensuring work pays and people who go out and do the right thing have enough to live and raise their family. The minimum wage has been increased, and the new National Living Wage will mean someone previously on the minimum wage will see their pay rise by a third by 2020. This is precisely what the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission recommended.”
Mr Djanogly said: “A good education can be the single greatest transformer of lives. There are record numbers of teachers in our classrooms and standards are also improving as a result of changes to the exams system.
“I was pleased to support the £1.3 billion boost for core school funding, meaning school funding will rise from almost £41 billion this year to £42.4 billion in 2018/19 and £43.5 billion by 2019/20. I am delighted that this is being felt in our area. As a result of the proposed funding formula, schools in this constituency will receive an increase in funding of £3.1m.”
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said: “Disadvantaged children in Cambridgeshire generally achieve less well than their classmates, and more so than their peers in other counties. This has been an issue in Cambridgeshire for some time. There are no quick fixes and it is going to require everyone involved with education to work together, as well as schools having the resources they need to tackle this problem.
“The council held a conference about this for all stakeholders earlier in the term and will be bringing everyone together again next term to continue this really important work.”
Since the report was published the board members have quit, blaming the Government for a lack of progress on social mobility.