• social mobility

    Improving Social Mobility

    Social mobility has been a key policy concern of the governments of the past decade. There are persistent differences in accessing professional careers by university type, school type and social background whilst admission to the sorts of selective university conferring an advantage in access to a professional career is itself much less likely for applicants from less privileged social backgrounds.

    Dr Catherine Dilnot is leading work focusing on how differential choices of school qualifications, particularly at age 16-19, impact the trajectories of young people into and through university and on into the labour market. Her work has illuminated how A-level subject choices are constrained by earlier school choices and performance, and how such choices have lasting consequences for young people, through their relationship with admission to selective university. She has collaborated with researchers at UCL, Bristol, Durham and the Behavioural Insights Team, and the work is relevant to a range of stakeholders across the UK, including schools careers and subject choice advisers, the Department for Education (DfE), and universities’ widening participation departments wishing to design unbiased admissions processes.

    Research is also being undertaken jointly with colleagues at UCL on an innovative project with major graduate employers to analyse their recruitment data. Their work informs the firms’ practices as they seek to recruit a more diverse workforce, as well as making findings publicly available in due course so that good practice can be shared more widely with graduate recruiters, thus enabling young people from less privileged backgrounds to realise their career aspirations and achieve a fairer society.

  • Get involved: join us

    Would you like to become a friend of the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice? We are grateful to our Centre friends for their support, which covers a vast range of activities.

    How you can help

    • Speak at one of our conferences or share your expertise at events
    • Sponsor an event or research project
    • Provide access to an organisation for research purposes
    • Provide prizes for best students’ dissertations on equality issues
    • Mentor our students
    • Sponsor a PhD student

  • Please contact us to find out more

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    Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice
    Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane
    OX3 0BP
    Tel: +44 (0)1865 488108

    Research Fellow 

    Dr Kate Clayton-Hathway
    Email: kclayton-hathway@brookes.ac.uk 


    Dr Anne Laure Humbert 
    Email: a.humbert@brookes.ac.uk

    Founding Director

    Professor Simonetta Manfredi
    Email: smanfredi@brookes.ac.uk

    Research Administrator 

    Mieke Tyrrell
    Email: mtyrrell@brookes.ac.uk