Parental occupation, family income, early years education, “social capital” (ie who you know)… these are the sorts of things we traditionally look at when considering what shapes a child’s ability to do well at school and beyond.

Yet, these days, there’s a new and growing influence on the life chances of children across the country: geography. Last year, two reports published by the Social Market Foundation think tank laid out the painful truth. Where someone lives can determine their social mobility almost as much as their family background. Regional disparities in the UK are wider than any other western European nation.

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