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For more information about the social mobility deep dive please email Gabrielle Climie:

Social Mobility Deep Dive

Recognising the significant gaps around education achievement, progress and aspiration within our most deprived communities and amongst the hardest to reach individuals, the Heart of the South West Skills Action Plan includes a commitment to develop a dedicated Social Mobility and Inclusion Programme.  To inform this programme, the Skills Advisory Panel has asked Marchmont Observatory to initiative a ‘deep dive’ exploring the challenges presented by low social mobility and how local stakeholders can best respond.  The deep dive process involves three related activities:

  • Production of a research brief providing an introduction to social mobility locally within the immediate context of Covid-19 but also alongside long-term prospects for the future of work. 

  • Stakeholder consultation to help shape priorities for the programme, highlight examples of good practice and identify opportunities to improve our response further.  This phase took place between May and June 2020, and a summary of responses can be found here.

  • A virtual event to share and discuss the consultation findings and agree next steps.  This event took place on Wednesday 30th June from 1pm-3pm and included a keynote speech from Dr Lee Elliot Major (Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter) and breakout sessions from speakers including Professor Anna Mountford-Zimdars (Director of the Centre for Social Mobility) and Charlotte True (Manager of Next Steps South West partnership). The full programme for the event can be found here. Graphic visualisation artist Eleanor Beer attended the event and created an illustration to summarise key discussion points, which can be viewed here


The SAP deep dive complements and informs other activity across the LEP area:

  • The Heart of the South West Social Prosperity Working Group is also meeting regularly to lay the ground work for the formation of an Inclusive Prosperity Expert Panel.  It is envisaged that the Panel, supported by a part-time project officer, will help LEP partners embed an inclusive prosperity principle to its activities and operation with a focus on delivering the Local Industrial Strategy and Productivity Strategy.

  • We have also connected with the Social Mobility Commission and are looking forward to exploring synergies in our work.

  • Focusing on the wider region, Professor Lee Elliot Major (Graduate School of Education) and Professor Will Harvey (Exeter Business School) are leading a 12 month Cobalt Trust funded project to diagnose of the social mobility challenges across the South West and produce a regional strategy outlining how we should address these challenges. The review will make recommendations for action based on an assessment of initiatives that are likely to be most effective in addressing regional challenges. For further information about this project please contact Anne-Marie Sim.