A new action plan to drive social mobility has been drawn up by the University of Greenwich and the Social Mobility Pledge.
The pledge is a campaign that works with employers and educational institutions, encouraging a greater prioritisation of issues surrounding social mobility. Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane Harrington said: “I have always been a strong champion of social mobility. When the Social Mobility Pledge team contacted me for the first time in the middle of April 2020 and I spoke to Rt Hon. Justine Greening I was fully convinced that we needed to sign her Social Mobility Pledge.
“It is heart-breaking and deeply unjust that some children’s lives are decided before they are born. Covid-19 has only exaggerated the disadvantages that already exist in our society. Universities, including ours, have a crucial role to play. I am fully committed to working with schools, colleges, universities, and businesses to make a difference, boost opportunities, and do our part in levelling up Britain.”
The report highlights some of the ongoing schemes and projects that the University of Greenwich has run in recent years and offers suggestions for how it can provide further support and opportunities for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. Former Secretary of State for Education and founder of the Social Mobility Pledge, Rt Hon Justine Greening, said: “Young people in our education system know that success can’t be achieved overnight. Learning new subjects, mastering them and studying for exams takes time. Students have to be prepared to stick with things if they are going to realise their best outcomes. Lack of access to careers advice from parents and peers, poor grades as a result of bad A-level choices, or simply not being sure about which course to enrol on are just some of the factors that see the university pathway get off to a bad start for many young people. “And it’s not just about getting into university, its also about ensuring that young people can then progress through their course and perform at their best throughout it.”
The Opportunity Action Plan was officially launched at a virtual event hosted by the University of Greenwich and the Social Mobility Pledge. During this, the two organisations explored the role of universities in relation to the UK’s widening opportunity gap and discussed ways in which the higher education sector can work to improve social mobility. The Social Mobility Pledge provided a number of recommendations for how the university can continue to improve its strategy, raise aspirations and offer further opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.
The university’s next steps include:
- A ‘Bridging the Gap’ campaign, to be used as a model for universities which may already have some established practices to address social mobility but which are committed to developing a much more comprehensive strategy in order to become a fully levelled up university.
- Going beyond access and participation to play a leading role in developing pathways to careers, driving innovation in connecting its students to employers.
- Playing a major role in advocating for the Levelling Up agenda across the higher education sector and in Parliament, highlighting the impact of the campaign and helping determine and shape the Higher Education agenda.
The Social Mobility Pledge was launched in 2018 by Justine Greening and UK entrepreneur David Harrison. The aim of the Pledge is to address the opportunity gap between individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds. The Pledge works with businesses and universities to help them develop more effective social mobility practices, build partnerships with schools and colleges, and increase opportunities for disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.
Source: University of Greenwich