Education should be the gateway to social mobility and a core tool in breaking the poverty cycle. Where there are difficulties with family life, where there is a lack of aspiration in the community and where life skills are absent, our schools should help children and young people plot a new course. Yet for too many primary and secondary school pupils in the most deprived areas, our education system continues to fall far short of this. Educational underachievement in these communities remains a national crisis; its urgent reversal must be a central mission of those in government.
Educational failure can have a catastrophic impact on a child’s life chances and opportunities. Not only is it an injustice harming the outcomes of those children affected, it represents an economic and social strain on the whole of society that creates and perpetuates cycles of disadvantage. Children leaving school with few or no meaningful qualifications are less likely to enter into and progress in work and less likely to be able to support the learning of their own children. England’s education system is currently undergoing extensive and widespread reform, the full consequences of which will not be felt for some time. However, it is clear that there is a need for reforms to go further in order to spread success to those children and communities that it has yet to reach.