New research from the London School of Economics on behalf of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission identifies a ‘glass floor’, which means that less able, better-off pupils are more likely to become high earners than bright pupils from less-advantaged backgrounds.
The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission notes that one of the main pillars supporting the glass floor is the investment more advantaged parents make in their children’s non-cognitive or ‘soft’ skills, including by putting their children into independent schools which often place a high premium on building these skills.
The Commission identifies several key policy implications including the need to ensure that children from less advantaged backgrounds have access to the same support and opportunities available to their better-off peers, by providing opportunities for them to build non-cognitive skills and to understand the world of work.
Welcoming the report, the PSHE Association called for the Government to ensure curriculum time for developing these skills and understanding of the world of work by making PSHE education statutory.
Chief Executive Joe Hayman said:
“This important report confirms the premium placed on soft skills by more advantaged families and by independent schools. If we are to ensure genuine social mobility in Britain, we need to ensure that every pupil has the opportunity to develop the kind of skills and experience the Commission has identified.
PSHE education aims to equip children and young people with the knowledge, attributes and skills they need for life and for the world of work. Yet non-statutory status means it is a postcode lottery as to whether pupils receive such lessons and whether their teachers are trained.
Statutory status for PSHE education is supported by 85% of business leaders, as a means to develop skills for, and experience of, the world of work. We also know that improved development of these skills could have a major impact, both for the national economy and for individual young people. The social mobility case for PSHE education could not be stronger.”
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