Schooling and unequal outcomes in youth and adulthood

The role of schooling in determining educational attainment, occupational outcomes and social mobility remains high on the policy agenda:

  • Are certain types of schools or schools with certain characteristics more successful than others and why? 
  • Do some types of school suit some pupils better than others? 
  • To what extent is schooling implicated in social and educational inequalities in Britain? 

In a time of increasing school diversity, selectivity and marketisation, these questions are more salient than ever. 

This major ESRC project addressed the role of schooling in determining educational attainment, occupational outcomes and social mobility.

A key aim of the project was to repair the BCS70 1986 school data via both retrospective and administrative information, and to input previously unavailable cognitive scores from 1986. These variables are now available via the UK Data Service.

The project was funded between October 2013 and July 2017.


Dreaming big? Self-valuations, aspirations, networks and the private-school earnings premiumCambridge Journal of Economics, 2017

The influence of private primary schooling on children's learning: Evidence from three generations of children living in the UKBritish Educational Research Journal 43 (5), 823-847, 2017

The path from social origins to top jobs: social reproduction via educationThe British Journal of Sociology, 2017

Childhood cognition in the 1970 cohort studyCLS Data Note, 2014

Social origins, school type and higher education destinationsOxford Review of Education 40 (6), 739-763, 2014   

Higher Education and Occupational Returns - do returns vary according to students' social origins. Report to UUK and CLS working paper 2016/3. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies.

CLS contact

Alice Sullivan,

Director and PI of BCS70

Alice is the Director and Principal Investigator of the 1970 British Cohort Study. Her research interests are focussed on social and educational inequalities, including inequalities of social class, gender and ethnicity. Email Alice

Project team:

Alice Sullivan, CLS, Principal Investigator
Sam Parsons, CLS, Co-Investigator
Dick Wiggins, CLS, Co-Investigator
Francis Green, IOE, Co-Investigator