There is an increasing body of evidence linking social mobility – the ability to improve one’s standard of living, through better education, employment and income – to non-cognitive skills such as confidence, self-esteem and resilience.
People who overcome adversity and realise their potential tend to exhibit these key skills; thereby enabling them to develop the ability to believe in themselves, pursue their goals along the way.
The essence of enterprise and financial education is to develop young people’s key skills such as confidence, resilience and financial capability through learning by doing, the ability to keep going when things don’t go to plan, whilst raising awareness on the links between one’s earning capacity, career aspirations and life choices.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, Character and Resilience Manifesto¹:
- Belief in one’s ability to succeed, the perseverance to stick to a task and the ability to bounce back from life’s set-backs are qualities that have a major impact on life chances, both during education and in the labour market
- More importance should be given to the development of “character and resilience” with schools making it part of their strategy to engage in extra-curricular activities aimed at nurturing pupils’ self-belief, perseverance and ability to bounce back from set-backs
- The earlier the intervention on child development, the more profound the impact on later life and social mobility
- Also see 7 key truths about social mobility (2012)
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Contribution of Further Education & Skills to Social Mobility²
- 18% of learners in the most deprived areas were studying at level 3 compared with 31% of learners in the least deprived areas
- There is a positive relationship between the level of learning and employment outcomes: for individuals undertaking and completing higher level qualifications, the level of employment increased steadily.
Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, State of the nation 2016: social mobility in Great Britain³
- Only 1 in 8 children from low-income backgrounds is likely to become a high-income earner as an adult
- Over the last 5 years 1.2 million 16-year-olds – disproportionately from low-income homes – have left school without 5 good GCSEs.
- Just 5% of children eligible for free school meals gain 5 A grades at GCSE
- Young people from low-income homes with similar GCSEs to their better-off classmates are one third more likely to drop out of education at 16 and 30% less likely to study A-levels that could get them into a top university
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Monitoring poverty and social exclusion⁴
- In the most deprived quintile of areas, 11% of secondary schools were rated as inadequate by Ofsted in 2015, almost twice as many as the 6% in the median quintile. In the least deprived quintile, only 1% were given this rating
- Children receiving free school meals are less likely to get 5 good GCSEs than others
¹ The All-Party Parliamentary Group of Social Mobility, Character and Resilience Manifesto, release date: 2014. The Manifesto tackles difficult questions such as how do we create a country in which a person’s life chances are determined by their talent, not the circumstances of their birth?
² Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Contribution of Further Education & Skills to Social Mobility, release date: October 2015. This report examines evidence about the contribution of FE and skills to the movement of people through social strata in England, through better education, employment and income.
³ Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, State of the nation 2016: social mobility in Great Britain. Release date: Nov 2016. The fourth annual ‘State of the nation’ report from the Social Mobility Commission presents compelling new evidence that for this generation of young people in particular, it is getting worse not better. Low levels of social mobility are impeding the progress of not only the poorest in our society
⁴ Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Monitoring poverty and social exclusion, release date: 23 Nov 2015. This report looks at the whole five years of the Coalition’s term in government, including incomes, jobs, pay, homelessness and education and makes the link between deprivation and secondary school performance.