Children's education crucial for social mobility

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Key findings

  • The early home learning environment and emerging behaviour, attitudes and beliefs influenced by family background are important long-term factors for how well children perform in school.
  • Mothers’ aspirations for higher education and children’s behavioural problems stand out as particularly important during the primary school years. 81 per cent of the richest mothers say they hope their nine-year-old will go to university, compared with only 37 per cent of the poorest mothers.
  • The gap between children from richer and poorer backgrounds, already large at age five, continues to widen between ages five and 14.
  • By age 11, only around three quarters of children from the poorest fifth of families reach the Government’s expected level at Key Stage 2, compared to 97 per cent of children from the richest fifth.
  • In later years patterns of under-achievement become harder to reverse – but influential fa

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