On 31 October, we held the first in our ‘What if…’ events series, which challenges thought leaders to bring some fresh and radical thinking to key debates in education. We kicked off with the issue of education’s role in relation to social mobility, asking the panel ‘What if… we really wanted to further social mobility through education?’.
First up was Kate Pickett of Spirit Level fame. She rejected the very premise of the question, highlighting the greater impact of wider, pervasive inequalities.
Nevertheless, she saw some scope for education policy to help lessen those inequalities – banning private education, randomising school admissions and ending student fees were a few of her recommendations.
Next was James Croft, chair of the Centre for Education Economics. He was more sanguine about what could be achieved through education and ‘working with the grain’ of the existing system.