The Norwich Social Mobility Project has welcomed news announced today that more support is coming to England’s “social mobility cold spots”. Norwich was identified by the Social Mobility Commission in a report released earlier this year as an area where educational attainment and job prospects were poor, meaning a child growing up poor in Norwich has lower life chances than elsewhere in the country.
Addressing the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, spoke of the need to boost life chances to create a country which works for everyone:
“Getting real change could take a generation and its going to need a very different strategy to what we’ve done before. So today I’m announicng the first six opportunity areas where we’ll trial a new approach.
“I talked about our education system needing to give children and young people three things: knowledge and skills, the right advice, and great life experiences.
“Opportunity areas will have a push on all three, and our approach will be tailored to each area’s needs. That’s how we’ll really make a difference and that’s what opportunity areas will do.”
Baroness Gillian Shephard, who is Chairing the Social Mobility Project while Chloe is on maternity leave said:
“This is marvellous news for young people in Norwich.
“Chloe Smith has worked tirelessly to get the difficulties that face some young people in Norwich recognised. Now they have been recognised, it is up to schools, young people, parents and employers to make the most of the opportunities they are being given.”
“I welcome this announcement and its focus on Norwich where sadly we know that the poorest children's life chances are worse than elsewhere in England. I've begun bringing people together locally to address the problem and I'm pleased to have national support. With local leadership, hard work and extra resources we would hope to make a real difference for our city.”
The plan builds upon the work of Chloe’s Social Mobility Project in Norwich, and involves teachers, schools, communities and businesses all working together as one.
Teachers and schools will be given extra support, partnering them up with those who have already raised standards and turned around schools elsewhere in the country.
There will be a greater focus on solid careers advice and experience, including support from the Careers and Enterprise Company, Young Enterprise and City Year, as well as National Citizen Service.
Business will also have a key role to play, as the ultimate source of opportunity, with the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses both firmly backing the strategy.