Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

Born to Fail? Social Mobility, A Working Class View

Her own class background has given Professor Sonia Blandford a unique insight into the way working class children fail and what can be done about it.

In July 2017, sat in my home office reflecting on the end of another full and mainly productive academic year, there was a realisation that, as a working class Professor, I might have something to contribute to the social mobility debate. A view that would be immersed in my experience, contributing to the class consciousness that has been subject to media activity and political debate over the last year.  My aim in sharing thoughts on social mobility is to question the injustice of the current prevailing view of social mobility, that the working class have somehow failed and they should become more like the middle class. That is, pass the required exams to go to university, get a degree or two, buy their own house and live a healthy life, contributing to society and the economy. Not too dissimilar to my own story in some ways, but lacking the notion of family and the tribal effect of the working class. What is needed is an alternative way of thinking about social mobility – a way of thinking that crucially listens to, engages and involves the working class in determining what their future should be.  An alternative way that values partnership, mutuality and collaboration and which, by doing what is right, creates opportunities for all. What would different look like if we addressed working class questions, if we responded to old questions with new thinking?

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