When I was at school, university was an expectation rather than a possibility. I was surrounded by students who all had the same anticipated future ahead of them. For a long time, I thought this was just the reality for people my age. However, the older I’ve grown, the more I realised that the rhetoric surrounding university and the opportunities I was given were a privilege. Britain’s Social Mobility Index proves how slow the country is with regards to offering equal opportunities to children. This generates a new question: ‘had I grown up in a different area, would I have had the same opportunities I’ve been given?’ The answer is probably not.
The UK is one of the least socially mobile countries in the world which would explain why private school pupils comprise up to 40% of the intake of top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, despite the fact that only 7% of the UK’s children attend private education. Programmes such as CoachBright are essential for not only providing younger students with insight into the possibility of university, but also for reminding those studying in higher education of the impact their geographic location may have had on their current prospects. CoachBright is a vital social programme that paves the way for other initiatives to ensure that we, as a country, acknowledge that there is a social mobility crisis and that changes need to be made in order to make a very uneven playing field more equal.
Blog Post by Elizabeth Winter - Birmingham Coach