RSA Debate - Is Education the Answer to Social Mobility?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
I was lucky enough to be at this debate on Tuesday. The audio is now live and you can find it here: The obvious highlight was Jo Shuter talking with great ability and flexibility about how secondaries in tough areas really change lives. Her comments start at 10 minutes but she also makes some important points in her answer to the questions. It was wonderful to hear her account which contained many insights which would be relevant to all schools instead of Gove and Gibbs eulogies endorsement of schools using their extreme funding to build rowing academies to poach London's best students or their seriously naive views that if you recruit the most academic graduates all will be well.

I've also tried to point out to Ricky on this site that where there is not a university nearby it's not reasonable to expect the same level of university entrance as if there are several - a point Jo makes and explores in the questions.

The whole debate is worth listening to. It explores the subject from many perspectives and important points appear at unexpected times. Some were disappointed that Michael Gove dropped out but in the end the effect of that was that the whole session could focus on the subject in hand rather than having to pay attention to the elephant in the room of of his ignorance and distracting and disturbing rhetoric regarding the actually implications of his own policies.
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Melissa Benn's picture
Mon, 16/07/2012 - 09:56

Rebecca - could you check the link ( to the debate) embedded in this piece. I am not sure it is working and I am interested in hearing the discussion as it is at the heart of current politics of education. Thanks.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Mon, 16/07/2012 - 12:26

Thanks for pointing this out Melissa - here's another go at the link:

If this one fails you need to go to the rsa site, select 'events' from the top menu bar, then select 'Audio and Past Events', then find 'Is Education the Answer to Social Mobility' which was on 10th July.

Guest's picture
Mon, 16/07/2012 - 13:21

The following answer from Minister Nick Gibb suggests that there are a lot of low income family students in independent sixth forms.
Written Answers - Education: Private Education: Education Maintenance Allowance (13 Jul 2012)
Nick Gibb: Between the 2004/05 and 2010/11 academic years, £51,876,390
was paid out in education maintenance allowance to pupils at independent
schools (excluding those who attended independent special schools).

So £7,410,912 /annum to independent school sixth formers whose household income would have to be below between 25k and 31K .annum to qualify for £10/week or £400 /annum.
That would be 18,527 students in independent 6th forms getting minimum EMA or assume average if the £20/week for £20-25K.
There must be a lot of half-starved parents paying out school fees equal to half their low income ; .Is this likely or has Mr Gibb displaced a decimal point?

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Mon, 16/07/2012 - 22:23

Guest is your comment in the wrong place? It doesn't relate to anything going on in this post or discussion as far as I can tell....

Steve's picture
Thu, 08/05/2014 - 18:21

I imagine you are not quite so pro Jo Shuter now it has been revealed that her snout was firmly in the trough.

Rebecca Hanson's picture
Thu, 08/05/2014 - 19:18

What have I done to give you the impression that I'm judgemental Steve?

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