Challenges for the next generation

Challenges for the next generation

Challenges ahead for the next generation: Eight in ten Brits believe that where a young person lives can determine their chances of future success

The majority of Britons think that a young person’s background has a significant impact on their chances of future success. They also see schools and teachers having a key role in ensuring young people from less well-off backgrounds have the same chances in life as their more well-off peers. 

Teach First, the education and social mobility charity, commissioned ComRes to survey 2,000 people across Britain to better understand public attitudes to social mobility and the barriers poorer young people face.  

When asked whether certain factors have a great or fair amount of impact on a young person’s chances of future success; the quality of teaching they receive (92%), the contacts and networks they have (88%), which area they live (79%) and how much money their parents earn (66%) were identified.  

Furthermore, the public are concerned about the economic impact of unemployment among young people. According to the latest figures, one in eight young people are NEETs (not in education, employment or training), a disproportionate number of whom are from less well-off backgrounds. 

The survey showed that: 

  • Half (51%) felt the fact that this has a negative impact on the economy (10% saying there were unsure) 

  • 43% say this impacts negatively on social cohesion and integration 

  • Younger Britons (those aged 18-24) are particularly concerned, with 50% thinking the proportion of young people who are NEET will have a negative impact on the UK’s workforce after Brexit, compared to 32% of 55-64 year olds and 37% of those over 65. 

However, Brits are clear on who should play a part in promoting social mobility. The public are most likely to say schools (90%), followed by parents (89%), business (84%), and the government (80%) should have an influence in creating the same chances for young people. 

The findings are revealed today as Teach First holds the biggest social mobility summit of the year – Challenge the Impossible Impact Conference - at the SSE Arena, Wembley. The event will see thousands of people come together to hear from the biggest names in education, business and the third sector, to drive efforts to achieve a fair education for all. 

The Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, and the Shadow Secretary of State, Angela Rayner MP, will be addressing the crowd, to set out what more they believe could be done to improve social mobility in this country. 

Speaking ahead of Impact Conference, Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First said: 

“This year Teach First has campaigned to challenge the impossible. No child’s dreams should be written off because of their background. Yet where you start from still too often decides where you end up. It is still the case that young people from wealthier homes are more likely to get a set of good GCSEs, a good job after school and attend a top university. 

“We know it is not impossible to change this - because every day we are inspired by young people who beat the odds and by the teachers who clear a path to their success. But we must go further, working alongside schools, the government, businesses and communities - with a collective will to create a country where the opportunities are available for all.” 

Education Secretary, Justine Greening, said:  

“I want to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to achieve their ambitions, regardless of where they are growing up or their background. It’s great news that there are 1.8 million more children in schools rated good or outstanding than there were in 2010 and the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers is narrowing. 

“But we know there is more to do – particularly in parts of the country that are at risk of falling behind. Our 12 Opportunity Areas are central to this. Working together with schools, councils, local businesses and other organisations, this programme is looking at ways to give all children the best start in life. 

“Great teachers help unlock children’s talents and Teach First is already playing a key role by recruiting top graduates with the potential to become excellent teachers in some of our most challenging schools. I look forward to continuing to work with them to broaden horizons for all young people.” 


For interview request, media enquiries or case study requests, contact the Teach First media team via or 0203 841 8483. 

Notes to editor 

ComRes surveyed 2,010 British adults aged 18+ online between 13th and 15th October 2017. Data were weighted to be representative of British adults aged 18+ by age, gender, region and social grade. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at 

Throughout the year Teach First have set out their vision for what needs to be done to support young people from poorer background and improve social mobility. This includes: 

  • Improve teacher recruitment and retention by erasing 50% of student debt after 5 years for any new teacher working in an area facing challenges. 

  • Reduce the gap between a new teacher’s salary and the starting wages in other top professions. 

  • Every school to have a trained careers leader to support young people’s futures. 

  • UK wide support for disadvantaged pupils for those considering and going to university, starting before age 16. This support needs to be in every part of the country, especially where there are no universities. 

About Teach First 

We believe that disadvantage should not determine destiny. Our vision is that no child's educational success should be limited by their socio-economic background. 

Our charity invests in the power of people to change the lives of children from low income backgrounds by: 

  • finding and developing great people to teach and lead in schools facing the greatest challenges 

  • increasing the attainment and aspirations of pupils and their access to higher education and employment; and 

  • building a movement of teachers, school leaders, social entrepreneurs, policy makers and business people who are committed to ending educational inequality. 

Since 2003, Teach First has placed 10,000 leaders in schools serving low-income communities, reaching over 1 million young people

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