On 22nd November 2017 Lord Lennie asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they have taken to address the concerns raised in the Social Mobility Commission’s State of the Nation report published in November 2016.” The Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, on my visits to primary schools in Coventry in Warwickshire, I am often struck by head teachers in poorer areas telling me that they cannot help their children without also helping the families, who often face very complex issues. The Minister referred to the opportunity areas. Can he confirm that there is a plan to involve parents and guardians in that work of uplift and that there will be help for head teachers in that task?
Lord Agnew of Oulton: The right reverend Prelate raises an important point—that families are vital to the process of dealing with disadvantaged communities. When I ran a number of academy schools, the thing that struck me most was dealing with the lack of aspiration among the parents. Looking at one of the first opportunity area plans, which has just been published and which happens to be in my own area of Norwich, I can see that the stakeholders cover a number of the communities that the right reverend Prelate refers to. Therefore, I am confident that families will be included in the process.