Discover how our city can flourish for its young people in dynamic address about social mobility and the opportunity area

Anne-Marie Canning MBE will be speaking at Bradford Cathedral this month about how social mobility is so critical to the young people of this city and how nationally, and at a local level, it should be taken seriously.


“Social mobility has been declining since the 1980s and we have higher levels of inequality in Britain than we’ve ever had. It’s very important that people have the chance to make the most of themselves no matter where they are from, not just for their own interests but for the community. It helps cities flourish and do well, and has massive gains in terms of our economy and productivity.”

Anne-Marie will be bringing together lots of sources that make the case for social mobility alongside a call of action for Bradford to work together to enhance the life chances of young people in the city.

Anne-Marie Canning is the Director of Social Mobility and Student Success at King’s College London whose role is to help those from under-represented or less-advantaged backgrounds to access higher education and to understand what is needed to help people reach their true potential. Anne-Marie has also worked in educational outreach at the Universities of Oxford and York, and has a public appointment in Bradford as the independent chair of the Bradford Opportunity Area.

Anne-Marie Canning MBE

“There are twelve of these across the UK. The Department of Education is seeking to boost the life chances in these areas where there is low social mobility. Bradford is one of the twelve, and the largest Opportunity Area by quite a distance. We have a quarter of all the children.

“What we are doing is trying to improve the life chances of young people in Bradford through education, but also a range of other initiatives as well.”

Millions of pounds are invested into an Opportunity Area, which include Doncaster, Blackpool and Hastings, to help schools, teachers, young people, and health carers who work with them. “It’s an amount of money that will help us kick-start social mobility in the City and will hopefully have a lasting legacy of people working together afterwards.”

£5million has been allocated to help fund life skills, money that has come from the sugar tax. “Every school in Bradford has received an allocation to help their young people participate in activities which help them to develop important life skills and characteristics.”

This funding has helped with many things including additional support for mental health, tutoring and trips, and one school invested in an outdoor educational area.

“Come to the talk and you will learn about social mobility, the history of it, and its importance. You will discover all the exciting work that is going on to really boost Bradford for its young people and you’ll meet lots of like-minded and interesting people at the talk. It will be a fantastic chance to network with people from all walks of life in Bradford and I’m hoping after the talk the conversation will continue and we can all work together to achieve our aims and our social mobility.”

‘Flourishing City’ takes place on Monday 11th March at 7pm at Bradford Cathedral, with doors open and refreshments available from 6:30pm.

The talk will see Anne-Marie Canning MBE address key priorities for Bradford including strengthening school leadership and the quality of teaching, improving literacy and access to rewarding careers through raising aspirations and removing barriers to learning.

The event is free to attend but places can be reserved at

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