The Social Mobility Commission (SMC) published a report on ethnicity, gender and social mobility in December 2016. The report provided an analysis of the effect gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status have on life chances in the education system and labour market.
Key findings include:
- a White British vulnerability to school underperformance;
- a Black penalty in secondary and higher education;
- a broken mobility promise for Asian Muslims, particularly women; and
- female underperformance in STEM subjects.
Recommendations for government, universities, schools and early years providers were made to address the barriers faced by certain groups in society, including:
- schools should involve and work with parents, particularly those from groups that are least likely to engage in their children’s education, such as poor white British and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) groups;
- schools should avoid setting pupils by ability, particularly at primary level, and government should discourage schools from doing so;
- schools, universities and employers should provide targeted support to ensure Muslim women are able to achieve their career ambitions and progress in the workplace;
- universities should implement widening participation initiatives that are tailored to the issues faced by poor white British students and address worrying drop-out and low achievement rates amongst black students.