£140 BILLION A YEAR – THE COST OF LOW SOCIAL MOBILITY

£140 BILLION A YEAR – THE COST OF LOW SOCIAL MOBILITY

Sutton Trust wants better careers advice in schools and more summer schools at leading universities

Comment

Failing to improve low levels of social mobility will cost the UK economy up to £140 billion a year by 2050 – or an additional 4% of Gross Domestic Product – according to the latest report sponsored by the Sutton Trust and undertaken by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report suggests that the UK’s economy would see cumulative losses of up to £1.3 trillion in GDP over the next 40 years if we fail to bring the educational outcomes of children from poorer homes up to the UK average. The Trust is proposing a series of policies to help address this which it is presenting in its ‘Mobility Manifesto’ for the General Election and beyond.  BCG has calculated that bringing below average students in the UK to the national average would add £14 billion a year to GDP by 2030 and £140 billion at today’s prices by 2050. This would add 0.7% to GDP by 2030; and 3.9% by 2050. The calculations are based on the increased lifetime earnings of students as they gain higher levels of qualifications.  The analysis formed the backdrop to a wider piece of work by BCG for the Trust which identified a number of innovative schemes from around the world which have the potential to improve educational achievement – and can be funded from existing budgets.

Among the innovative schemes suggested were:

Developing ‘No-excuses’ / KIPP style schools in the UK that offer 50% extra learning time to disadvantaged students

Summer camps for primary children to prevent the summer learning loss

New ‘Teacher residencies’ to attract able career changers into teaching in disadvantaged areas

University access programmes linked to university admissions (currently being piloted in two universities)

Support for university admissions tests (possibly through existing Sutton Trust university summer schools) and Individual enrichment sessions for able disadvantaged pupils aged 11-14

BCG estimate that the average return for these policies is 6:1 – comparing the lifetime earnings benefits for the individuals on the schemes with the money spent on the programmes. Some programmes resulted in returns of over 20:1. The Trust is taking forward a number of these ideas, either by piloting new programmes in the UK or by advocating the policies to government and other funders (see notes).

The BCG analysis makes clear that investing in measures to increase mobility and narrow the achievement gap make sound economic sense, even in these times of financial hardship. But the new Government, of whatever colour, will need to take a wider and longer term view, beyond a single Parliament or the budget of an individual department. The full rewards of a more mobile and socially just society will only be evident in decades to come.”

The Sutton Trust will also develop and promote six other programmes to government and other funders:

University summer schools based on the Sutton Trust model at more leading research universities

Increasing low income children at high performing schools through automatic applications and ‘opt outs’, rather than ‘opt ins’

Means-tested fees at independent day schools

A comprehensive early years programme that links parenting schemes with additional childcare provision and home support

An independent careers and education advice service for schools

Personalised performance data for non-privileged young people and parents to explain future possibilities and highlight potential opportunities

Read the report here

The full Mobility Manifesto is available at www.suttontrust.com

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