The Role of Educational Structure and Content in the Process of Social Mobility

Project Details


The ESRC research fellowship aimed tothe study of the mechanisms that underlie class mobility between generations, paying particular attention to the role of educational institutions and curricula. It improved upon the existing research on social mobility through the use of longitudinal data and through the study of the interrelation between micro-level factors (such as gender, individual abilities and educational attainment) and macro-level factors (educational institutions and curricula) in social mobility patterns in Britain.

Key findings

The analyses carried out have confirmed that a life-course perspective on social mobility is essential to our understanding of it. The relationship between class of origin and class of destination cannot be fully understood by analysing destinations at only one point in time: there are important differences in the routes by which people reach particular destinations, and these differences are patterned by class of origin and by gender. Moreover, this research has demonstrated the importance of the institution attended and the curriculum studied for social mobility. One policy implication emerging from the study is that one way in which educational policy may influence social mobility processes in Great Britain is through the content taught at school. Even in a context of changing

labour market opportunities and educational system the curriculum taught at school is likely to play an important part in determining individuals’ social class of destination.
Effective start/end date16/12/0530/06/09


  • ESRC: £142,960.00


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