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Improving social mobility to create a fairer society


In a fair society, what counts towards your success is how hard you work and the skills and talents you have - not who your parents are or where you come from. Children from poorer homes are far less likely to achieve their potential than other children, and who your parents are appears to have a bigger impact on your future in the UK than in many other countries.

We believe that no-one should be stopped from achieving their potential, so we intend to create an open society that gives fair chances to everyone.


Increasing social mobility is a challenging goal and not one that we can achieve working alone. We must work to remove barriers in every stage of life, to give people equal access to opportunities and help give second chances to those who need them.

Several government departments are working together to make important changes and provide services that will help improve social mobility.

Organisations outside of government are also playing their part, including schools, further education colleges, universities, businesses, professional bodies and a wide range of third sector and voluntary organisations.

We’ll work together to help make opportunities open to everyone - creating a fair society.

We’ll improve outcomes during the early years by:

We’ll improve outcomes for school-age children by:

We’ll make it easier for young people to successfully move from school to work by:

We’ll help people progress in the labour market and ensure they have second chances to succeed by:

We will continue to increase transparency and accountability, by:

  • measuring progress on improving social mobility and reporting through the social mobility indicators
  • making sure government departments work together effectively through the Informal Ministerial Group on Social Mobility
  • improving the quality of data through the Social Mobility Transparency Board and 2012 Birth Cohort Study


The Coalition agreement set out the government’s ambition to create ‘a Britain where social mobility is unlocked; where everyone, regardless of background, has the chance to rise as high as their talents and ambition allow them’.

We published ‘Opening doors, breaking barriers: a strategy for social mobility’ in April 2011. This document explained the government’s plans for improving social mobility as the most important goal of social policy. A year later, in May 2012, we reported progress made in ‘Opening doors, breaking barriers: a strategy for social mobility – update on progress since April 2011’.

We set up the Commission for Social Mobility and Child Poverty in 2011. Its task is to watch over the progress made by government and wider society with reducing child poverty and increasing social mobility. Alan Milburn was appointed Chair of the Commission in July 2012 and 8 other senior leaders joined the Board in December.

Read more about what we are doing to create a fairer and more equal society.

Measuring social mobility progress

We created a set of social mobility indicators within each of the 4 main stages of a person’s life. These indicators will help us see if we are improving social mobility, and if so, to what extent.

Who we’re working with

Many central government departments are involved in important work that helps to achieve social mobility:

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