Social mobility report advises against setting and tiering

Schools should avoid tiering or setting pupils and the government should not encourage this practice if we are to deliver on our social mobility promises, researchers have suggested.

The recommendation is among those made in a new study that uncovers stark differences in the educational and labour market outcomes of different ethnic groups in the UK.

Ethnicity, Gender and Social Mobility has been published by the government’s Social Mobility Commission and is based on research by academics at LKMco and Education Datalab.

It examines students’ trajectories as they progress through the early years, primary and secondary, through to sixth form and university, before looking at how attainment at school translates into the labour market. Among a number of findings, it reveals that:

The report warns that setting could be holding back social mobility and encourages schools to avoid it, especially primary schools. It states: “(The) evidence suggests that, while those in the top sets benefit from a positive peer-group effect, the practice widens gaps between those in top sets and those in middle or bottom sets and does not raise average attainment.

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