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Social mobility


The Social Mobility Commission publishes an annual report and index on social mobility in the UK. Social mobility is about ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to build a good life for themselves regardless of their family background. In a socially mobile society, every individual has a fair chance of reaching their potential. The 2017 report has found a stark social mobility postcode lottery exists in Britain today, where the chances of being successful if you come from a disadvantaged background are linked to where you live.

The index measures social mobility prospects in each area through 16 key performance indicators. It assesses which parts of the country have the best social mobility outcomes (the hotspots) and which have the worst (the coldspots). The indicators underpinning the index span each major life stage, from early years through education to people’s working lives. It covers 324 English local authorities.

The Lancashire-14 area averages around the 40th percentile, where 1 is the most socially mobile and 100 is in the least socially mobile. The Lancashire-12 area averages around the 35th percentile. Meaning that people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Lancashire are more social mobile than the England average.

There are two hotspots, Chorley (rank 39) and Fylde (rank 54), both are affluent areas with the majority of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds attending good or outstanding schools. Chorley has high family home ownership. Fylde has a strong labour market. South Ribble also stands out as being the highest of all local authorities on average points score for young people eligible for free school meals at age 15 taking A levels or equivalent qualifications, with a score of 37.89. The England average for this indicator is 28.38.

There is one cold spot, Blackpool (rank 313) and one area in the bottom 30%, Burnley (rank 234). These areas combine bad educational outcomes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with weak labour markets that have a greater share of low-skilled, low-paid employment than elsewhere in England.

The report highlights that up to a quarter of young people eligible for free school meals are NEET (not in education, employment or training) in Ribble Valley and they have the lowest average points score for taking A levels (23.65) in Lancashire. The district has a small cohort of people eligible for free school meals compared to other local authorities (3%, compared to a Lancashire-12 average of 13%) and therefore confidence limits are larger on their data. The NEET data supplied has a +/-0.5% rounding error inbuilt which makes the ranking less reliable on this indicator than other indicators. Ribble Valley is a very affluent area but is predominantly rural. Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face far higher barriers to improved social mobility in rural areas than those who grow up in cities. Ribble Valley has a number of selective high schools, such as Stoneyhurst College and is therefore likely to be a net importer of highly-able pupils.

The dashboard below details the overall rankings, percentiles of rankings and the underlying indicators that make up the index.

For help on using this dashboards, please look at our tips and hints (PDF, 454KB).

For help on understanding neighbourhood geographies, please look at our geographies page. 

Feedback on this dashboard would be welcomed to

Please feel free to use any of the information in our dashboards, acknowledging Lancashire Insight when you do.

Page updated: December 2017