A public educational system, free at the point of use, should be our greatest tool for delivering equality of opportunity. But this is not happening. When pupils from poorer backgrounds enter the education system they are already behind their peers. Instead of catching up at primary and secondary school, this gap widens as they progress through their school career with severe consequences for their life prospects. If every young person is to have a fair chance in life, we need to do more.
Social investment can help close the attainment gap. This report, commissioned by Big Society Capital and the Private Equity Foundation) argues that there are excellent opportunities for social investors in this area of education. There is real social need; evidence that we can do something about it; customers who are willing and able to pay for a service; and investees who both want social investment, and can repay it.
These opportunities need careful specification, and to be approached in an intelligent and pragmatic way. However, we believe that education can and will form a significant part of social investor’s portfolios in the future.