Social Mobility

Education can break the link between a child’s social background and their later outcomes, improving social mobility. One of NFER’s primary objectives is to provide evidence on the factors affecting social mobility, educational outcomes, and later careers, in order to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to progress and succeed.

Our research portfolio reflects the ambitions of the government’s social mobility improvement plan. Our projects include evaluations of the Opportunity Areas programme, the Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund (TLIF) targeted at challenging schools, and the Sutton Scholars programme preparing highly able, socially disadvantaged students for university. We have also conducted research into the Pupil Premium, exploring how schools who are successful in narrowing the gap in educational achievement have achieved this. We are England’s national study centre for the OECD’s International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study, which will provide insights into how children’s early experiences affect their development. We also conduct many trials for the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) which is focused on creating and using evidence to improve outcomes for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Further afield, we are conducting a long-term research project in Mozambique, funded by Save the Children and DfID, to evaluate initiatives aimed at improving school participation and achievement for girls.