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Education is the first step to social mobility

If you’ve been born into a family who are comfortably off, you’ve got access to advantages that children born into a family where money is tight may not have. So what?

A recent report by the OECD* shows that it would take five generations for a poorer family in the UK to achieve the average income. In fact, it says that the income gap has got bigger since the 1990s.

Their research shows that people are getting stuck in the income group they were born into, finding it hard to break out and escalate their earning power And there appears to be a direct correlation between family income and educational achievement. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In many third world countries, even the poorest families encourage their children to apply themselves to education as the route to a professional career. Dad may be a labourer, but their aspirations for their children are to get an education that will allow them to choose a professional career as a teacher, doctor, lawyer, accountant or similar. Education is the route to successful upwards social mobility.

This is why it’s so important for children to get a good education – it’s the foundation stone on which the rest of their lives will be built.

Isn’t every child different?

That is true as there are some children who have real learning difficulties and most schools have resources to support them. However, that aside, every child has the ability to learn – the level at which they choose to apply that ability is the differentiator.

Motivational speaker, the late Jim Rohn, once said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. As parents, your children spend a large proportion of their time with you – and in their early years, it’s the time when their life views and habits are being formed. What can you do to ensure that your impact on their social mobility is a positive one?

There are many things you could do – but the biggest is to encourage them to learn and to love learning. Make learning an adventure that is fun and makes your kids feel good. Don’t make learning a chore, but an exciting journey.

Give them the gift of curiosity and they’ll be lifelong learners – and have more opportunities and a much more interesting life.

* The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 37 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.