Revealed: The worst places in England to be a child in poverty

The data showed that Middlesborough and East Staffordshire are some of the worst perfoming local authorities for disadvantaged children

Caroline Mortimer@cjmortimer
Sunday 31 January 2016 20:02
Children living in "social mobility coldspots" were less likely to do well in school and have a good job later in life
Children living in "social mobility coldspots" were less likely to do well in school and have a good job later in life

Children from wealthy areas such as Oxford and Cambridge are less likely to do as well in exams than those from some of the most deprived parts of London.

A new Social Mobility Index study by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission looked at all 324 local authorities across the country and compared the life chances of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The data showed children in London were pulling ahead in terms of education and getting a good job in later life.

It identified the country’s “social mobility coldspots” with Northumberland, East Staffordshire and Middlesborough coming bottom of the table.

Even in the supposedly wealthier areas such as Oxford and Wiltshire were only a few places higher on the list, which showed the worst performing 20 per cent of authorities in England.

The report said this shows “many of the richest places in England are doing worse for their disadvantaged children than places that are much poorer”.

The South-east had only a handful of local authorities which were considered in the top 10 per cent of “social mobility hotspots” - compared with 72 per cent of authorities in London.

Coastal towns and cities also featured heavily on the “coldspot” list with Thanet in Kent - where Ukip leader Nigel Farage attempted to win a seat in the general election in May by appealing to the traditional working class vote - coming in the bottom half of the table.

The study shows that although the north/south divide has been very well documented, there is also a divide between areas that are next to each other.

The report puts this down to the lack of high paying jobs in some areas and poor transport links, which prevents people travelling to where there is more lucrative work.

Poor transport also makes it less appealing for highly qualified educational professionals to work in local schools.

Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, said: "It uncovers a new geography of disadvantage in England which should alarm policy makers, educators and employers and really is a wake-up call for all those institutions to do far more so there's a level playing field of opportunity.

"We are a long way from that today. there's a lottery in social mobility."

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