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Life chances for disadvantaged children in Norfolk are hampered, fears MP

PUBLISHED: 17:44 28 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:23 01 March 2019

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has raised concerns about social mobility. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has raised concerns about social mobility. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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Children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Norfolk have a poorer chance of doing well as an adult than the national average, new statistics have revealed.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

And a Norfolk MP says the county should hold a social mobility summit to look at the issues which hold young people back.

That House of Commons Social Mobility Index research ranks each of the 533 constituencies in England, according to how likely people from disadvantaged backgrounds are to progress to a higher social status later in life.

Of the nine constituencies in Norfolk, only one is in the top half of performers, with South Norfolk ranked at 238th.

North Norfolk ranked 323rd, Norwich North 328th, Great Yarmouth, 338th, Broadland 409th, Norwich South 444th, Mid Norfolk 479th, North West Norfolk 448th and South West Norfolk 510th Waveney was ranked 484th.

It considers four life stages: early years, school, youth and adult, with each stage measures how good life chances are for disadvantaged children at that stage of life.

The rankings are created by monitoring factors such as nursery quality, school attainment, quality of schools, average earnings, house affordability and home ownership.

North Norfolk Liberal Democrat MP Mr Lamb, has called for a social mobility summit to look at the issue.

He has also written to the education secretary and to Norfolk County Council, asking whether they were aware of the divergent figures and how they intend to solve them.

In 2016 Norwich was identified by then education secretary Justine Greening as one of 12 opportunity areas, but Mr Lamb said he wanted a longer-term, more radical, vision.

He said: “Norfolk’s poor social mobility performance means we’re denying some of the most disadvantaged children crucial chances to make the best shot at their lives.”

County council leader Andrew Proctor said: “We contributed to the all-party Parliamentary group on social mobility last year and are calling for the government’s funding review to recognise the true costs of providing services in rural areas.

“Inclusive economic growth and social mobility will be at the heart of our new business plan. I was hoping that Norman might be aware of all that and support our efforts.”

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