Social mobility and global learning

Sarah Williams, Head of Programmes and Partnerships at Think Global attended a Westminster Education Forum’s event in January. Here she provides an overview and shares her thoughts on the event.

Speakers from across charities and government came together on 18 January at the Westminster Forum’s event on ‘Next steps for raising educational attainment an improving social mobility in England.’

The event was chaired by the Lord Griffiths of Burry Port and brought to light the most recent findings of the Social Mobility commission and the DfE’s plans for tackling social mobility through education in 12 opportunity areas (published Dec 2017).

The opportunity area plans have recently been published on the DfE’s website. They make for interesting reading, in both their assessment of the areas themselves and the plans for improving social mobility. It is a welcome approach in that the solutions are being developed locally, in partnership with schools, businesses, charities with the aim of actually embedding change in local structures.

What does this mean for those of us who are striving to help young people understand and negotiate the global context of their lives?

  • If you are interested in supporting young people with global skills for employment the profile of skills and business partnerships in these areas may provide space for the growth of this work.
  • Critical and creative thinking and social justice sit at the heart of global learning and these are some of key components of tackling the causes of social inequality and lack of social mobility. There could be an opportunity to frame this work around achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals? This would provide a framework for measuring progress and would link to inequality globally.
  • For organisations that work locally to these opportunity areas there could be the chance to bring get involved in this work as it develops and local partnerships evolve. Although Sarah Lewis (DfE) presented a largely optimistic picture for schools in these areas, she did warn that they would need support to negotiate the offers from local organisations to prevent becoming ‘overloaded’.

As we develop our mapping exercise of global learning provision in England, with our partners, it will be interesting to see how this relates to the 12 areas the government has identified as social mobility ‘cold spots’. I’m interested to know if there is a correlation between global learning ‘cold spots’ and social mobility ‘cold spots’ and how we as educators might respond to this.

If you would like more information, please contact Sarah Williams.

Blog by Sarah Williams, Head of Programmes and Partnerships at Think Global

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