Members of the Lords, including former teachers, a former secretary of state for education and two former chief inspectors of schools, debated the role of primary and secondary education in improving social mobility on Thursday 13 March.
Members, many using their personal experience of primary and secondary school, spoke of how education is a powerful contributor to life prospects. They also said that parents are crucial to setting life prospects for their children but circumstances at birth shouldn't determine someone's future - their education should form their life chances. A former primary school head teacher, amongst others, stressed the importance of early education and child development.
Members also said that A levels and university degrees are one route to success but different, non-academic, pathways to employability should be pursued.
Lord Nash (Conservative), parliamentary under secretary of state for schools, responded on behalf of the government. He said the government understood the importance of addressing social mobility at a young age, highlighting the current CAN Parent trials and steps it is taking to teach teachers how to recognise and address special educational needs early. He also highlighted the successes of academy schools and mentoring and work experience programmes giving students links to the outside world, connecting them with local businesses. He closed stressing the importance of teachers and their status.