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The West Somerset Opportunities Area

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This website tells a little about what is meant by social mobility and why West Somerset has been identified as an Opportunity Area:

http://www.somersetintelligence.org.uk/social-mobility.html

 

Despite West Somerset’s many assets, it has challenges that must be addressed. West Somerset is the lowest ranking district in the whole country in the Social Mobility Index (January 2016), a measure that compares the chances that a child from a disadvantaged background will do well at school and get a good job.

Not enough children achieve the same level of attainment at school as in Somerset or nationally, as illustrated in the graphs on page 11. There are signs, however, that West Somerset is starting to narrow the gap for the next generation. Achievement of all pupils and of disadvantaged pupils at the end of key stage 4 is in line with the national average but too few young people then progress to higher education and good careers.

West Somerset’s position at the bottom of the index is largely due to economic factors. Median gross weekly pay is less than in Somerset or England whilst house prices are

relatively expensive. The new generator at Hinkley Point, however, will bring significant new jobs to the area, many of them high skilled.

A core purpose of the Opportunity Area programme is to develop young people who have the skills and aspiration to access more highly skilled jobs in the area. This starts by getting children ready when they start school and providing learning experiences that give them the right skills to succeed in education.

Our ambition is to enable children and young people to be perfectly placed to take advantage of the growing employment opportunities. The characteristics of the area means we will need to take a tailored approach – but the level of ambition is clear and we will work with local partners to deliver an approach that works for West Somerset.

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