The tail of educational underachievement for disadvantaged students risks getting longer. Dr Jonathan Doherty looks at the state of play after two years of Covid, considers where now for social mobility, and discusses seven building blocks for schools to help raise attainment for disadvantaged students​

Education, as a driver of social mobility, can be the gateway to a better future; but it can also drive a wedge between “those who have” and “those who have not”.

Serious divisions exist in Britain today. Inequalities across society entrench young people in disadvantage and widen the gulf between rich and poor in our schools.

Rafts of government initiatives to improve social mobility have been suggested – proposing more school choice, new curricula, and a revised exam system in schools. It remains, however, that we have not yet created sustainable pathways within our education system for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to flourish. If Britain were a more equal society, evidence from the Equality Trust (2022) suggests that:

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