Kanchan Jadeja commented on the deeply unfair finding that when a child starts education at age 5 years old the highest determinant of the outcome of that education at 18 years old is class. She stated that 'Education is often seen as a tool for social mobility but some would argue that it is in fact a tool of social non-mobility.' The aspiration is that education is free and allows everyone to have the same start in life.
The UN Convention on Human Rights includes a provision that every nation in the world should prepare educational opportunities for children to receive an education. Article 28 that there should be provision of secondary education. That education should be free or there should be financial suport where it is needed. Article 26 that everyone has the right to education. The aspirations may be there but the operation can be limited. We want our children to have character as well as the formal education in these documents. Before 1944 there was a very basic education system but with the 1944 Education Act a more formal system was established.
The difference between the disadvantaged groups and other children coming from other social groups is very large. A report in this country on social mobility and some of the themes in that look at the differences between those children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and social class accounts for a large degree of education attainment. Class is still the most important aspect of what happens when a young person comes out of their educational time. In 2007 only 35% of the poorest pupils achieved 5 or more Grades A to C at age 16. This is seen as the starting point of education Only 3% of children from the poorest classes go on to Higher Education compared to 26% of children from the weathiest backgrounds.
Kanchan Jadeja has been the chair of National Council of Voluntary Youth Service for 6 years. She is currently the President of the organization. She has over many years of experience of working in the voluntary and community sector first as a youth and later as a chief executive and Asst Director of major infrastructure organisations. She is a qualified social worker who has worked with children and young people facing challenges and at local level. She joined the civil service in 2002 leading on government funding for National Voluntary organizations. She went on to work in the Government Office East Midlands leading on youth policy for the region. Later, she was the Head of Targeted Youth Support program in the then Department of Children, School and Families. She left to set up her company called InspireMC (Be the change you want to see in the world) and has recently set up a social enterprise called Spiritus (Spirit in Action). Her previous board positions include Who Cares? Trust, 1990 Trust and chair of Peepul Centre in Leicester – a social enterprise – the largest Millennium funded project for a BME led organisation. She has contributed to publications on children in communities, Asian Women and Domestic violence and Adult Education programs for women for the European Parliament. She works with disadvantaged children in India and her most recent project is with CRY India a children’s rights organisation based in India