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Sonia Blandford


Sonia Blandford is an award winning leading international education practitioner and writer and keynote speaker on Social Mobility.

Trained as a music teacher at Bretton Hall College Sonia Blandford has a career spanned five decades across 23 countries having held teaching and leadership posts in Barnsley, Wiltshire, Bath, Hounslow and Bristol, gaining two Masters (music and education), and was among the first to be awarded an EdD (leadership, management and administration) in the UK.

Moving to Oxford Brookes University as a senior lecturer, Sonia was appointed Deputy Dean and Professor of Education, during which time she led a number of multi-national contracts focused on leadership and school improvement, Sonia was also a founding tutor on the NPQH programme.

Sonia Blandford joined Canterbury Christ Church University as Dean of Education Canterbury Christ Church University, then Pro-Vice Chancellor for Quality, holding various national and international appointments. Sonia was appointed by the European Commission as one of four European experts that created pan European policy on how to improve teacher professional development, and to chair the education committee responsible for ‘Tuning’ masters’ qualifications across Europe.

Sonia joined the University of Warwick as Professor of Education and Innovation, where she led the Achievement for All pilot on behalf of the Department for Education. Sonia moved to the Institute of Education as Professor of Social Enterprise, supporting the creation of the International Centre for Literacy and co-leading the Education Endowment Foundation teacher retention project (RETAIN).

Sonia Blandford created her first charity in 1981, founding and advising further 10 charities, including creating the Teach First programme, founding trustee of the Chartered College of Teaching, and founding Achievement for All. Sonia has continued with her engagement in European policy and research, representing the Department for Education on the European Agency for Inclusion, Raising Attainment project.

As a writer, Sonia has edited and authored 45 books, and published over 200 articles and blogs, receiving national acclaim for ‘Born to Fail? Social Mobility: A Working Class View’. Sonia has held five honorary posts including Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Sonia also chaired the Blackpool Challenge and led the creation of the Achievement for All Charity and Achievement for All Education Trust.


A pioneer in breaking down prejudices, Sonia Blandford wants opportunities for all regardless of their background, challenges or needs, her influence over the country and excellent work can inspire success in all. In her talks Sonia speaks on social mobility, what it is and how organisations can support it and how we can be doing more.


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