Does education improve social mobility?: A Question Time style event at the Intellectual Forum

On 26 October 2017, the  Intellectual Forum at Jesus College ran a sold-out event for the Cambridge Festival of Ideas involving a Question Time panel style about school education and social mobility.

The debate gave people the chance to discuss how schools can reduce inequality and improve social mobility, with the panel considering questions such as: Do schools give everybody a fair start in life?, and: Are some people left behind and others unfairly advantaged? While the focus of the event is schools, there was also a discussion of the role played by universities in fostering social mobility.

The panel - chaired by Dr Julian Huppert, Director of the Intellectual Forum and former MP for Cambridge - included:

Professor Anna Vignoles said, ahead of the event, that: “The debate will address the crucially important issue of the role of education in helping people achieve upward social mobility. Participants will be debating whether our education system really does provide similar opportunities for all students to succeed, or whether there are still significant barriers for students from poor backgrounds. Whether you are joining us in person or watching the debate online, we hope that you’ll find it thought-provoking.” Certainly, the debate delivered exactly that: a thought-provoking insight in how we reduce barriers to education from those from various disadvantaged backgrounds.