Education plays a fundamental role in the development of children, young people and adults. This influences the employment opportunities afforded to them in later life.
Despite the universal provision of education in the UK, significant differences remain in the attainment of pupils from more and less advantaged backgrounds. This ‘attainment gap’ exists before a child enters mainstream education and has been shown to increase as pupils progress through the education system. Additionally, there are significant variations in attainment across geographies, genders and ethnic groups. Taken together, this cements social immobility and long-term inequality.
Reducing these variations in attainment remains a key focus for government policy, with specific funding being allocated to provide additional support or expanded provision for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This has created potential income streams for charities and social enterprises to draw upon to expand their delivery of interventions aimed at improving outcomes for pupils who are most in need. This may be by:
- directly providing services to students or into schools
- delivering government payment-by-results contracts
- operating cross subsidy models, generating income through commercial sales to fund education interventions
Different types of social investment can be used to support charities and social enterprises and offer opportunities across all levels of education provision, from pre-school to higher education to adult skills development.