General Article The gap years: education and social immobility

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‘On the education of the people of this country the fate of the country depends.’ This proclamation from Benjamin Disraeli is still shared by today’s politicians a century and a half later. Ensure access to a proper education for all, and the result is improved wellbeing, prosperity and social mobility – benefiting both individuals and society in general. Or at least, that has been the ambition.
But although the politicians may be willing, the results are weak – or limited at best. Children growing up in poorer households are still generally underperforming in school. Despite hopes, performance targets and rigorous testing have not propelled ever larger numbers of British children and teenagers up the education ladder.
As research shows, there is no ‘silver bullet’ to tackle the education challenge. The report Poorer children’s educational attainment: how important are attitudes and behaviour, by Alissa Goodman at the Institute f

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