Westminster Education Forum

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

Morning, Thursday, 18th January 2018

Central London


This timely seminar examines next steps in the policy drive to raise educational attainment and improve social mobility in England.

The seminar takes place in the context of:

  • Government’s announcement of £72m in funding to improve social mobility through education in 12 opportunity areas which are considered to be cold spots for social mobility;
  • Recent publication of delivery plans for the first 6 opportunity areas outlining the vision and priorities for each area;
  • Release of a DfE-commissioned study raising concerns that the opportunity areas scheme had unrealistic expectations; and
  • Appointment of an Evidence Champion by Government to ensure intelligence is shared effectively across the 12 areas.

It will also be an opportunity to discuss latest findings from the Social Mobility Commission’s annual State of the Nation report, which last year recommended 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. Delegates will discuss key issues for the implementation of opportunity area plans - including the configuration and coordination of the individual local partnership boards; measures to evaluate progress and ensure accountability of the initiative; and steps to closer align the education system with the needs of the labour market. Further discussion will assess priorities for raising educational attainment more widely, examining best practice initiatives and their scope for transferability in addition to the effectiveness of university-school and education-business partnerships as well as research schools, such as the 11 selected to support the opportunity areas.

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

Lord Griffiths of Burry Port


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

Assistant General Secretary, NUT Section, National Education Union

Dr Chris Wilson

Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Brilliant Club

Professor Kathryn Mitchell

Vice-Chancellor, University of Derby

Matt Davis

Regional Director, UK, Education Development Trust

Paul Lewis

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

Adrian Ball

Chief Operating Officer, Inspiration Trust