The Mobility of English School Children*


  • *

    The authors would like to thank an anonymous referee, participants in a Centre for Economic Performance seminar and colleagues in a meeting at the Department for Education and Skills for a number of helpful comments. They would also like to acknowledge funding from the Department for Education and Skills and being given access to the administrative data used in this paper.


In this paper, we examine links between pupil mobility and pupil and school characteristics at all levels of compulsory schooling in England. We derive measures of mobility from two academic years of the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) data, a unique national administrative pupil-level longitudinal data source. Our findings suggest that mobile pupils are more socially disadvantaged than non-mobile pupils and are significantly less likely to have a good prior education record. Moreover, we find that pupils are less likely to move if the school they attend has good average performance levels. Finally, when children move school, they are more likely to end up in a school with better Key Stage performance than the one they left, but this improvement is significantly more marked for children from better-off backgrounds.