The Rt Hon Matthew Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, used St Thomas More Catholic School, Wood Green, London, as the setting for an eagerly awaited special announcement on social mobility.
The school was the perfect location for such an announcement, he said, pointing out St Thomas More’s exceptional results to that end.
The Civil Service is keen to have a more diverse workforce – at present it is less diverse than Oxford University – and has developed a social mobility index in conjunction with dozens of major businesses. It will be using this to ensure that it can monitor not just gender, race and other protected characteristics but also ensure that opportunities are available to all, regardless of background. It is important to reward “effort over upbringing, potential over polish, ability over what accent you have”, stated Matthew
The ministerial annoucement was followed by a speed networking event, organised by ‘Inspiring the Future’, with students from Years 7 to 13. Civil servants from Government departments ranging from the Ministry of Defence to the Foreign Office, involved in every sector of public life from space technology to foreign diplomacy, spoke to the students.
The Minister commented afterwards that he thought it was the most attentive school he had spoken at and described the questions he fielded as both thoughtful and unusually challenging!
“Having spoken to you,” he told students, “I am sure the top jobs in the civil service will be taken in 50 years by those sitting in this room!”
The students, meanwhile, left with pages of notes and a clearer idea of what it means to work in government, while Rogeka Baker, head girl, left with a fistful of business cards.
Picture: Matthew Hancock MP makes his announcement on improving social mobility