Early Years News – Social Mobility: Chance or Choice?

Social Mobility: Chance or Choice? - Early Years News


  • What is mutuality?
  • How can expanding mutuality and unlocking choices drive positive change?
  • University or Apprentices: what is the best (and most obtainable) way to measure achievement?
  • How can we support social mobility with social inclusion?

These are just some of the questions Sonia Blandford asks in Social Mobility: Chance or Choice?

In our latest blog post on early years news, we review Blandford’s latest book which provides more evidence for the importance of work in early years, where the disadvantage gap starts, to ensure that this gap is not continued through education to employment.

In her sequel to Born to Fail? Social Mobility, a Working Class View (October 2017), she highlights the challenges we now face in this country to increase social mobility for all. She speaks with leading policy makers and practitioners, creating this collection of conclusions which show how, together, we can improve the chances for all young people. 

If we are to achieve a fully inclusive society where opportunities are equal for all, the intervention work must start in early years.

About Sonia Blandford

Sonia Blandford is the founder and CEO of Achievement for All, a leading not-for-profit organisation which aims to improve outcomes for children (and, in fact, all young people) by working in partnership with early years settings, schools and colleges. They intend to help close the gap for all ages, ‘regardless of their background, challenge or need’.

Their Every Child Included in Education campaign ‘exists to make social mobility real for all children and their families and to improve the lives of disadvantaged, vulnerable and underachieving children and young people in England.’

We were fortunate enough to join AFA during their 2018 conference, at which, Sonia’s opening speech discussed:

  1. Kindness and wellbeing – building inner core strength
  2. CPD for teachers to support SEN children
  3. Minimising exclusion – aim for no exclusion
  4. Parents and carers involvement

From the book…

Sonia believes in the ‘shared responsibility’ of this all-important task, and the involvement of all sectors to improve you people’s outcomes, an important message that we regularly find in early years news :

I argue that all education and business leaders, professionals, practitioners, parents and carers, and members of society have a shared responsibility to ensure that our education system (in its widest sense) gives every child and young person a right to real chances and choices and support that maximises their opportunities. When we do this, we contribute to building a society that is truly inclusive.

 She goes on to point out that we must ‘recognise disadvantage in all its forms’ and in an interview with Prof. Hans Georg Näder, for the book Futuring Human Monility, she is asked why this is a global issue.

I think there are four reasons. Firstly… because of capitalism – money drives and money controls. Secondly, the people who have the power to change things choose not to, partly because of ye first point, the economy. They believe that the talented people should naturally rise to the top. And this leads to the third reason: our leaders talk about meritocracy, but we do not live in a meritocracy. Disadvantaged people do not have the same opportunities to develop their talents as people who are either born into money or make money to have power. Lastly, the fourth reason is fundamental: as the human race we should care about everybody, but do we care enough to make the change?

Education – The Early Years

In a later chapter on Education she discusses the early years:

It has always seemed preposterous to me that the older children get, the more highly esteemed (and better paid) their teachers become. This is, I believe, linked to historical misunderstandings of the importance of early years education in policy…

 …We all know early years education is crucial in supporting the healthy development of every child at one of the most sensitive times of their life: the disadvantage gap starts here and so should the work needed to close the gap. This is a crucial time to identify children with additional needs to ensure they get the support they need to thrive in school.

Find out more about changing social mobility in this sequel of Born To Fail: Social Mobility: a Working Class View. You can get your copy of Social Mobility: Chance or Choice? on amazon and you can find information about their conference with the same name on Facebook.

If you’d like to keep up top date with the latest early years news, visit our social media accounts and the latest news section of our blog.

For enquiries, contact Sue Newman, Boogie Mites Director on 023 9281 7274, or email her: sue@boogiemites.co.uk