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AoC responds to DfE plan on social mobility

20 May 2019

In response to the DfE plan on social mobility, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “This is an important statement of intent and focus for the DfE. The plan sets out an ambitious agenda to tackle longstanding and deep-seated inequalities which the education system struggles to overcome. It is a brave step to establish this as a goal for the Government and colleges across the country are already working on this ambition in everything that they do. Colleges are drivers of social mobility and will want to work with the Secretary of State to help transform the life chances of children, young people and adults. “The plan sets out a useful set of actions across pre-school and school, as well as starting to develop the vision we need for young people’s learning and for adults. Perhaps understandably, the plan is clear on the underinvestment and challenges in 16-19 technical education, but we would like to see DfE develop more of a positive vision for technical and professional education from age 14 upwards, including the new T Levels and progression routes to higher levels. That vision needs to lead a culture shift in our country which results in more young people, of all abilities, positively taking the technical route, in the same that so many now positively take the academic route. “The plan puts social mobility at the heart of DfE policy and I am confident that the SoS will drive this personally and that the responsibilities on schools, colleges, universities and employers will all be centre-stage. I am plateaued that the plan helpfully takes a clear path focused on partnership, place and responsibility. We know that colleges are the most important social assets in the most disadvantaged parts of the country and that they work with young people and adults who have been failed by the school system. AoC is keen to work with the SoS and DfE to use the college assets, expertise and energies to help provide more and better opportunities for everyone.”