Nick Clegg launches Opening Doors Awards

Nick CleggNick Clegg has long championed improving life chances for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. As he said on this morning’s Call Clegg:

My dad helped me. I was very lucky. But is shouldn’t be all about luck. That’s what we need to address.

He said that bright kids from poorer backgrounds were being overtaken at school by less bright children from more affluent backgrounds by the time they were 7 and the problem continues as they decide on their careers. If you’re from a poorer background, you don’t have the connections to land you the best opportunties. Remedying that problem is what’s behind the Opening Doors campaign which 150 companies have signed up to. Yesterday Nick launched the Opening Doors awards, which aim to find the best examples of reaching those bright young people and giving them the help they need. It’s a very strong example of the least heard but most important part  of the Trinity of Liberal Democrat Mantras – enabling everyone to get on in life.

There are a number of categories in the awards, from best outreach, to most inspirational young person to a Deputy Prime Minister’s excellence award which “will be given to the organisation who has excelled in setting the standard and communicating the case for social mobility.”

This is Nick’s video launching the awards which is also available here on You Tube:

 

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9 Comments

  • Matthew Huntbach 6th Jun '13 - 1:24pm

    After Nick Clegg’s recent defence of nepotism, I really can’t be bothered to spend time on some video clip of him claiming to be a supporter of equal opportunities. Sorry, but I feel about his line “It’s only natural for parents to want to push their children forward” uttered in defence of discriminating against everyone but your own kids in allocating top jobs much as I would feel had he said “It’s only natural to prefer working with people from your own sort of background” in explicit defence of someone who had a racist hiring policy.

  • Peter Hayes 6th Jun '13 - 6:23pm

    Matthew are you saying that if you were a parent in the 1950s you would have accepted your children were selected for Secondary Modern not Grammar? Or would you have fought? All parents do it. That’s why Grammar schools were abolished, too many middle class parents did not like their children being in the less than 20% selected for grammar.

  • Stuart Mitchell 6th Jun '13 - 6:57pm

    Peter Hayes: “All parents do it.”

    Not quite all; some people do actually walk the walk. Back in the ’50s my mother passed her 11 plus with flying colours but was sent to a secondary modern because my leftie grandparents did not approve of grammar schools.

    I share Matthew’s dream. Children come in to the world with nothing, they leave it with nothing, and any wealth they accumulate in the meantime should be entirely as a result of their ability and hard work. Only then would we have genuine equality of opportunity.

  • Peter Hayes 6th Jun '13 - 7:15pm

    Stuart, you are right but where I live there is a grammar school, a very good state school, several other state schools and the two private Cheltenham colleges. The state schools catchment areas show how it works, a 3 bed semi near me has sold for £199950 and I have not met the new owners but I suspect they have kids as we are the only family without.

    My fathers parents had the same problem in the 30s, with 4 boys they could not afford the costs of the grammar school so even the ones who got a scholarship could not go.

  • I used to be a “bright kid from poorer background”, did well, did uni and got a great job!

    But now I’m unemployed, and even the JSA has been cut off and now am being made homeless so….

    meh

  • Its bumpy down here! Ouch!

    Fix those potholes!

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Jun '13 - 9:09am

    Peter Hayes

    Matthew are you saying that if you were a parent in the 1950s you would have accepted your children were selected for Secondary Modern not Grammar? Or would you have fought?

    Yes, and if I were an MP and were offered a large sum of money to lobby for a particular cause, would I turn it down? People will act selfishly, yes. That is why we have laws against that sort of thing.

    In the case we are talking about here, it’s not just a case of any old parent in the 1950s (or 2010s in places Kent, you know) lobbying for their child to get into a grammar school. It’s a case of the education officer responsible for the allocations breaking the very rules he has been assigned to enforce.

    Sure, people will act selfishly, if that’s all Clegg was saying I’d not have a problem with it. However, he was defending someone who was appointed to a particular position acting in a way completely against what that position is about. To me, that’s unacceptable. As I’ve said before, if you are unable to control your selfish interests, you should not hold such jobs. Clegg should have been calling for Caan’s resignation, not defending the man.

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Jun '13 - 9:17am

    Stuart Mitchell

    Not quite all; some people do actually walk the walk. Back in the ’50s my mother passed her 11 plus with flying colours but was sent to a secondary modern because my leftie grandparents did not approve of grammar schools.

    Well, actually I passed the 11+ in the 1970s and was offered a grammar school place, but went to a comprehensive school instead. My parents left the choice with me.

  • Peter Watson 7th Jun '13 - 11:16am

    An article about Clegg a few months ago noted that he went to a school where teachers could guide him to choose an easier college and a softer subject (as well as coach for interview or entrance examination), allowing an aspiring politician to tick the Oxbridge box much more easily than a bright working class kid for whom A*s at A-level might not be enough. With so many obstacles to genuine equality of opportunity, I fail to see how an awards scheme such as this can make any difference.

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