A study released this week by the Sutton Trust and the Social Mobility Commission concluded that social mobility across the UK is “low and not improving”. It revealed that 7 per cent of the population has attended private school, compared with 39 per cent of those in positions of power.
This is evidently not good enough. For too long, professions like law, politics and journalism have been dominated by independently schooled people. As you yourself went to a private school I’m sure you appreciate the huge impact such a start can have on the life of a young person.
By making sure that our state schools offer a comparable education to private schools, we can drive down these inequalities and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from higher education and reach their potential. It’s encouraging that the performance gap between state funded schools and independent schools has never been smaller: 86 per cent of state funded schools are now rated good or outstanding compared to 68% in 2010. We must do more.
That’s why I was troubled to learn that the Labour Party has officially dropped improving social mobility as a priority.
At a Labour education event in Birmingham on 8th June, your party leader vowed to scrap the Social Mobility Commission and claimed that social mobility has failed.
This goes against some huge strides made by both Labour and Conservative governments.
Why does your party now want to stop that good progress? Why does it not want to ensure that a working class kid from Croydon has the similar educational advantage that you had growing up?
I have not been privately educated, and I was the first in my family to make it to university. It’s not for everyone, but it genuinely changed my life for the better. I’d hope you’d agree with me that it must be the case that all parts of society – including universities and employers – should play their part to make use of the talents of people from all backgrounds.
I’m sure we can agree that we should focus our efforts on lifting living and educational standards for all our young people in Croydon, so that they too can enjoy the opportunities that we had growing up.
I hope you’ll join me in this endeavour, and that you will write to your party leader to ask him to urgently reverse your position of abandoning the fight to improve social mobility.
I look forward to receiving your reply.
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Croydon Central
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