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Call for 'Social Mobility Commission' to help children reach their potential

Call for 'Social Mobility Commission' to help children reach their potential

Friday 13 May 2022

Call for 'Social Mobility Commission' to help children reach their potential

Friday 13 May 2022


Jersey should have its own ‘Social Mobility Commission’ to overcome the barriers that stop children from poorer backgrounds realising their full potential, the island’s equality watchdog has said.

The Jersey Community Relations Trust is a not-for-profit, grant-funded organisation tasked with promoting equality and diversity.

It has recently published a report on social mobility, which makes several recommendations after an analysis of the current situation in the island.

Those key findings include that there is a “lack of clear leadership for the social mobility agenda” and the lack of a central coordination unit should be provided for by a commission.

Its role, it says, would be to “provide leadership in identifying issues which adversely affect social mobility”; collect baseline data through research; and challenge businesses, schools and other organisations to develop social mobility objectives and targets.

The JCRT also revisits the longstanding issue of the 14+ transfer, recommending that the Year 10 move to Hautlieu is reviewed because “this may have an impact on diversity within the other secondary schools at a key point in students’ academic study and in the development of their self-confidence and aspirations.”

hautlieu.jpg

Pictured: The JCRT thinks the Government should review the 14+ transfer to Hautlieu.

The trust also concludes that the budget for mental health provision in schools – which it says has not been increased for over a decade – should be increased, and there needs to be a dedicated budget for students whose first language isn’t English, covering all schools based on number of ‘EAL pupils’ attending the school.

However, it said it welcomed the recent launch of a new Government language policy. 

“We hope that this policy will go some way to providing essential additional support to multilingual students,” the trust said. 

JCRT Chair Matthew Christensen said: “A child’s inherited social and socio-economic status can affect their ability to access an education which will assist them in succeeding in life. In Jersey we have an opportunity to address this imbalance.

“Social mobility creates a fairer and more equitable society; it leads to economic growth and better outcomes for all. 

“For the future prosperity of Jersey, our research suggests that the Government will need to make bold changes in its education strategy and implement policies to enable social and economic mobility.”

The JCRT also recommends that the Government works with employers to better understand the skills they require from future employees, it spends more on Highlands College to raise the profile of Further Education, and it extends the ‘Jersey Premium’ funding top-up to pupils aged 16-19. 

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drop GST from food and kids clothing for starters.
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