Cllr Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, blogs about how Islington Council is improving education and social mobility in the borough
Yesterday (22nd November) in Parliament, Labour MPs led a debate on education and social mobility. According to a recent report, Islington has a child poverty rate of 38%, one of the highest rates in London. In Islington, we know how important a high quality education is in determining the life chances of young people.
In order for our young people to unlock their true potential, education is the key to helping young people exceed the educational achievements of the parents and move out of poverty.
Since 2010 Labour-led Islington Council has made education one of the centrepieces of our vision of creating a fairer, more equal Borough. In Islington we have seen rapid improvement in educational achievement. Not too long ago 70% of parents chose schools outside Islington, but now that statistic has been reversed.
Islington’s primary schools are in the top 10 in the country for helping children from poorer backgrounds achieve good results. GCSE results in the borough have massively improved in recent years, meaning more young people living in Islington have the chance to go on to further education or enter the world of work with the skills they need. All of our secondary schools are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted.
Islington is ranked fifth in the Government’s Social mobility Index, which shows our hard work is paying off. However, there is no room for complacency. The aim of increasing social mobility through education is challenged by Government policy.
The Social Mobility Commission recently warned that low and middle-income families are being held back by a “deep social mobility problem”, pointing to an unfair education system, a two-tier labour market and unaffordable housing as key causes. These are also areas that the Tories have done nothing to address, and even worsened through their own policies, in recent years.
The cost of housing plays a significant role in child poverty and social mobility. This is why Islington Council has pledged to deliver a further 2,000 affordable homes, including 500 council homes by 2020. We are also actively campaigning against the Tory Government’s Housing and Planning Act, which will force councils to sell off housing stock and make finding an affordable home in Islington harder.
Government policy on Housing will increase overcrowding, which is already a huge problem for us. Imagine trying to do your homework or revise for exams in a two bedroom flat with two siblings and parents.
We will continue to fight to remove any barriers to our young people reaching their true potential and take action to provide the jobs, housing and education that enables people to live a life beyond the parameters of the one they were born into.
Public meeting on Ladbroke House
As the DfE have no plans to consult the community over their controversial plans to open a free school sixth form with luxury flats on the Ladbroke House site in Highbury, local people have come together and arranged a ‘Community Consultation’. The meeting will take place at 6.30pm on Monday 5th December at Highbury Fields School and is open to anyone with an opinion on this proposal.
Pictured – Cllr Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families