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Born to Fail?
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Sonia Blandford, CEO of award-winning charity Achievement for All, writes brilliantly and honestly about the facing up to the realities of the white working class and how to address social mobility from the inside. No-one in the UK is better placed than Sonia to write about the struggles of white working class pupils in our schools. She grew up on the Allied Estate in Hounslow and was the first member of her family to pursue education beyond the age of 14 and was also the first to attend university. Sonia lost her mother when she took an accidental overdose, when she couldn't read the doctor's prescription. This tragic failing served as one of the inspirations for her to set up the award-winning Achievement for All organisation, who work with thousands of schools to help close the attainment gap. Born to Fail? tackles head-on issues such as why education often doesn't matter to the working class; how education has failed to deliver for them; the importance of self-belief, action and confidence; and how the Early Years is the crucial time to build success from the start.
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About the Author

Professor Sonia Blandford is Founder and CEO of Achievement for All and one of the UK's leading practitioners of education. Sonia is passionate about raising the aspirations and improving the attainment of all children and young people regardless of their background or need. She was named in the 2016 Debrett's list of the Top 500 Most Influential People in the UK and is currently a trustee of the new Chartered College of Teaching.

Reviews

'Sonia Blandford's book hit me like a ducking in freezing water. My starting point was the opposite to hers - privileged and certain I could change the world. She says of the working class 'it isn't about rescuing them. It's about valuing them and allowing them to develop in their own way'. Written with great clarity and personal insight, this is a book which, if taken seriously, especially by educationists and policy makers, really could change the world and I personally wish I had had the benefits of its wisdom fifty years ago. It is a perfect read for anyone wanting to see a more equitable society in modern Britain.' -- Sir Stephen O'Brien CBE (Founding Chair Teach First; Founding CEO Business in the Community and London First) 'Blandford may be the first Professor to have failed her English qualification five times - but this heart-ripping, brain-provoking book uses words perfectly to explain why class is not the same as disadvantage, why social mobility isn't something well-educated teachers can hand to chosen children but is something every child must be helped to choose for themselves, and why something as simple as playing the cornet in a school musical can be life-changing. Practical, hard-hitting, and packed with evidence, this is a manifesto for looking again at how we really make schools work for everyone.' -- Laura McInerney, Editor of Schools Week 'This book offers a genuinely new and unique approach to the debate on social mobility by using the author's own experience of growing up and succeeding from a working class background. Sonia shows how we need to understand the impact of working class experience and values on learners if we are to successfully shape educational policy and interventions which really have a chance of success. Building on her own extensive experience of implementing life changing programmes in education she explores what needs to change in our system to turn around the fact that social mobility is going backwards. This is a must read analysis if you are interested in making a difference in this area.' -- Brian Lamb, OBE (Special Educational Needs and Disability policy expert and Government adviser)

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