This timely conference will discuss next steps for raising educational attainment and improving social mobility in England - from early years through to higher and further education and into employment.
The seminar examines next steps for continuing to narrow the gap between the most disadvantaged and the least disadvantaged students - looking at policy and implementation issues.
It takes place with latest government figures showing a fall in the disadvantage gap index for primary school pupils, and follows a range of policy and investment measures announced by the Secretary of State to improve social mobility through education.
The conference also follows the re-launch of the Social Mobility Commission, with £2m of new funding and twelve new commissioners alongside the chair.
Delegates will discuss priorities for the Commission, the roles of the range of stakeholders and how to ensure that benefits are felt across early years education, primary and secondary education, and further and higher education - taking into account teaching quality and the role of schools in raising aspirations and improving attainment.
Delegates will assess what can be learnt from the impact so far of the Opportunity Areas programme, in improving social mobility in the 12 areas considered to be social mobility ‘cold spots’ in England - with case studies from both the first and second wave of the programme.
We also expect discussion of how the Opportunity Areas programme could be used as a platform for wider progress in terms of social mobility across England with the announcement by the Secretary of State of targeted funding for the North East.
Attendees will consider policy and best practice aimed at tackling disadvantage in early years, including options for improving collaboration and progress on the government initiative to improve literacy and language skills in early years, with the announcement of specific funding by the Secretary of State - alongside the creation of a £30m fund aimed at creating more nursery places at successful schools and enhancing the use of data analytics to better target interventions.
We also expect discussion on the review commissioned by government on the quality of non-GCSE qualifications for 14-16 year olds, and on research by the Social Mobility Commission on the impact on social mobility of extra-curricular activities.
Further sessions focus on post-16 through both higher and further education, including the likely impact of T-Levels as preparations are made for their initial introduction in three areas in 2020 and the newly introduced Strategic College Improvement Fund to support the FE sector and improve standards.
There will also be discussion on widening access into HE and employment, with the Office for Students continuing to examine how universities can reach out to students from different backgrounds, including through their National Collaborative Outreach Programme.
Delegates will also consider the opportunities for employers to engage with schools, further education and higher education institutes to ensure they are reaching out to all young people to provide greater opportunities for them to reach a high level of employment, with case studies from Accenture and KPMG.