Commenting on Elites in the UK: Pulling Away?, a report published today by the Sutton Trust, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"It's good news that more socially mobile adults are staying where they grew up. One important way to ensure that people don't need to travel to find good opportunities, is to guarantee stable, public sector jobs with good pay rates in every region of the country. Ensuring fair pay for jobs like teaching, youth work and nurses is key to retention rates but it also means people can gain secure and meaningful employment near to where they live. Proper social mobility requires us to give as much status to female dominated jobs such as nurses, care workers and teachers as we do to accountants and lawyers, generally more male dominated.
“We need to deliver on social justice for everyone - on the right to secure housing, decent jobs and a healthy standard of living. Social justice is important for the welfare of UK society, as a whole. The focus shouldn't be on whether individuals can escape low pay, or reliance on food banks, but why we have such deep and growing inequality.
“To ensure the same educational and training opportunities means recognising that many targeted interventions in schools help middle class children, as well as helping working class students. Creating a level playing field within education needs proper understanding of how significantly poverty affects the prospects of thousands of children. The impact of poverty on children's confidence about their future can't be reversed within schools unless we generate economic and cultural opportunities in the communities where young people live.
“Tackling child poverty needs to be urgently addressed and the Government needs a broad and balanced curriculum to help engage every young person and get them learning. Paid internships and access to high quality apprenticeships do need to be accessible across the country. Failure to do this will result in many young people being left on the sidelines and society will lose out on their talents."