Westminster Education Forum

Next steps for raising educational attainment and improving social mobility in England

Morning, Thursday, 18th January 2018

Central London


Delegates at this timely seminar will discuss next steps for implementing policy to raise educational attainment and achieve the linked aim of improving social mobility in England.

It follows the Social Mobility Commission’s annual State of the Nation progress report conducted for government recommending that all schools in the 10 lowest performing local authorities take part in programmes to ensure that none of them are Ofsted-rated as inadequate and all are progressing to good by 2020.

The seminar also comes in light of the government announcement of £72m in funding to improve social mobility through education in twelve opportunity areas which are considered to be cold spots for social mobility: Blackpool, Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, Fenland & East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich, Norwich, Oldham, Scarborough, Stoke-on-Trent and West Somerset.

Sessions assess priorities for implementation, including the configuration and coordination of the individual opportunity area local partnership boards comprising stakeholders from early years, schools, further education, universities, business, the third sector and local authorities. The agenda also looks at measures that can be taken to evaluate progress and ensure accountability of the initiative, as well as steps that can be taken to closer align the education system with the needs of the labour market.

Further discussion will focus on priorities for raising educational attainment more widely, examining best practice initiatives and assessing their implementation and scope for transferability in addition to localised approaches to raising educational attainment, including university-school and education-business partnerships. The impact on local education communities of research schools, which are set to be opened in each of the opportunity areas, will also be assessed, as will the potential for the broader implementation of similar models to the London Challenge, which aimed to bring about improvement in the London schools sector.

Guest of Honour

Sarah Lewis

Deputy Director, Opportunity Areas, Department for Education

Guest of Honour

Sarah Lewis

Deputy Director, Opportunity Areas, Department for Education

Keynote Speaker

Erika Boak

Head of Policy - Schools, Social Mobility Commission


Baroness Stedman-Scott


Anna Ludwinek

Research Manager - Social Policies, Eurofound

Jack Fox

Partner Schools Manager, University of Kent

Michelle Rainbow

Skills for Business Director, North East Local Enterprise Partnership

Stuart Mathers

School Engagement and Dissemination Manager, Education Endowment Foundation

Rosamund McNeil

Head of Education and Equality, NUT

Dr Chris Wilson

Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Brilliant Club

Professor Kathryn Mitchell

Vice-Chancellor, University of Derby

Paul Lewis

Director of Government Relations and Communications, The Careers and Enterprise Company