Sutton Trust

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The Sutton Trust is an educational charity in the United Kingdom which aims to improve social mobility and address educational disadvantage.[citation needed] The charity was set up by educational philanthropist Sir Peter Lampl in 1997 and since then has undertaken over 100 research studies and funded a wide range of initiatives, from early years, through primary and secondary school, and access to higher education and the professions.[citation needed]

Early years[edit]

Impetus - Sutton Early Years Initiative The Sutton Trust has partnered with Impetus to launch an initiative focused on working with disadvantaged parents and their young children to tackle inequality at its roots and close the gap that forms before school between disadvantaged children and their peers.[citation needed] The Trust and Impetus are investing in early years interventions specifically working to close the gap in school readiness.[citation needed]

PEEP Transition Project The pilot project aims to help prepare parents, carers and children for the transition from home to pre-school, particularly targeting those who lack confidence and understanding of how they can help with their children's learning, feel alienated from the education system and experience social isolation and/ or speak English as an additional language.[citation needed] Through various sessions, including a home visit, group sessions to the pre-school setting and a settling-in session on the child's first day, it is hoped that not only will the children feel more supported, but the confidence and ability of parents to help and value their child's learning and development will be improved.[citation needed]

Room to Play Designed to provide support to hard to reach families through drop-in style provision based in a shopping centre in one of the most deprived parts of Oxford.[citation needed] The service provides activities for children, and helps parents learn to facilitate their child's learning through everyday play and interactions.[citation needed] Following a positive evaluation by the University of Oxford, the Trust is now supporting the dissemination of the model and lessons learnt to a number of disadvantaged communities.[citation needed]

School projects[edit]

Open Access Open Access is a voluntary scheme that would open the best independent day schools to students from all backgrounds, with places awarded on merit alone.[citation needed] The schools would remain independent, entrance would be competitive and fees would be paid on a sliding scale.[citation needed]

The seven year pilot at the Belvedere School in Liverpool was funded jointly by the Sutton Trust and the Girls' Day School Trust and all places were awarded on merit, with parents paying a sliding scale of fees according to their means.[citation needed] Under the scheme, the social mix of the school became more diverse with 30% of pupils on free places, 40% paying partial fees and 30% paying full fees.[citation needed] The first cohort achieved the school’s best ever examination results - and the best in Liverpool - with 99% of students achieving at least five good GCSEs.[citation needed]

One-to-one Tuition Pilot In 2011, the Sutton Trust with support from Greater London Tutors, piloted a project which offered private tuition in mathematics to 100-150 academically able Year 11 pupils from non-privileged homes who would not otherwise be able to afford it.[citation needed] The aim was to help pupils with the potential to achieve A or A* grades in their maths GCSE, but who were at risk of not doing so, and provided 10 hours of private tuition either one-to-one or in pairs in the run-up to the GCSE exam.[citation needed]

Future First Future First works to introduce alumni networks to state schools by bringing back former students to inspire, advise and guide current pupils.[citation needed] The programme aimed to help students define their career goals and educational aspirations, as well as offering practical help, including putting together effective CVs.[citation needed] The scheme allowed face-to-face alumni contact and the development of individual interactive alumni websites for each schools.[citation needed] The programme also offered work placements through its network, including work-shadowing opportunities with leading barristers.[citation needed]

University projects[edit]

Summer Schools The Sutton Trust started this pioneering programme back in 1997 and it continues to be a widely sought after and valuable opportunity.[citation needed] The programme was extended in 2012 to include Durham, Imperial College, UCL alongside Bristol, Cambridge, Nottingham, St Andrews; and in 2013 expanded to include the Royal Veterinary College.[citation needed] Funded by The Sutton Trust with the generous support of its partners and host universities, the week-long summer schools are designed to give 1000 bright students from non-privileged homes a taste of life at a leading university.[citation needed]

Reach for Excellence The Reach for Excellence programme has been running at the University of Leeds for a number of years and is funded by Lloyds TSB in partnership with the Sutton Trust.[citation needed] The programme aims to raise the aspirations of non-privileged young people who have the potential to attend research-led universities.[citation needed] The students are from schools and colleges with low higher-education participation rates in the area around the university.[citation needed] As part of the programme, each student receives a package of guidance throughout their A-Level studies including subject taster sessions, skills workshops, financial advice, e-mentoring and a residential summer school.[citation needed]

The Subject Matters A number of the Sutton Trust’s research studies have pointed to the importance of students making well-informed choices at A-Level.[citation needed] All too often, bright pupils’ chances of accessing leading universities are diminished because they are studying inappropriate combinations of subjects at A Level – an issue that the University of Cambridge has highlighted.[citation needed] The Sutton Trust is funding the university’s The Subject Matters sessions for Year 11 students and teachers in target schools, which are designed to support and inform the decision making process.[citation needed]

US Programme The Sutton Trust US programme, started in 2012, helps low-income students apply to universities and colleges in the USA, through residentials, a week-long trip to an Ivy League institution and admissions guidance. The programme took 65 students in its first year in 2012, before expanding to 150 for its second year and 175 for its third year. Students on the 2014 programme attend a summer school at either Harvard University, Yale University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Pathways to Law Pathways to Law, a £1.5m initiative developed by The Sutton Trust and The College of Law, was established in 2007 and is delivered by five universities – Leeds, London School of Economics, Manchester, Southampton and Warwick – in collaboration with the regional centres of the College of Law.[citation needed] The Pathways programme comprises a sustained series of interventions over two years: university-based sessions, including academic lectures and seminar discussions; careers and university advice; e-mentoring by current law students; a guaranteed work placement with a top law firm; a three-night residential conference; and the use of a library of law-related information and news.[citation needed]

Access Professions is a web portal to match young people with aspiration-raising opportunities in higher education and the professions, focused particularly on students from under-represented backgrounds.[citation needed] Launched in late 2010, it will work by young people registering with the site and entering key pieces of information - their examination grades, subject interests, career aspirations and background.[citation needed] They are then notified of programmes and events for which they might be eligible, whether that be summer schools, work experience, taster days or any of the other wealth of access-related activities out there.[citation needed]


Educational Backgrounds The Trust has published a series of surveys documenting the school and university backgrounds of leading people in professions in the UK.[citation needed] A study by the Trust found that over one third (35%) of MPs elected in the 2010 General Election attended fee-paying schools, which educate just 7% of the school population.[citation needed] Additionally just under two thirds of the Cabinet went to independent, fee-paying schools. The review also documented that serving as a Member of Parliament has become a graduate profession with nine out of 10 MPs having been to university.[citation needed]

Summer Schools A report published by the Trust in 2012, showed that summer school attendees were more likely to get into a highly competitive university than children with similar academic profiles who didn't.[citation needed] Researchers at the University of Bristol revealed that more than three-quarters (76%) of children who attend a summer school then go on to a leading university, compared with just over half (55%) of children with a similar academic and social background who did not apply for a summer school place.[citation needed]

Social Mobility A key objective of the Sutton Trust has been the promotion of social mobility through education. A 2005 report funded by the Trust revealed that social mobility in Britain was at a very low level and had fallen in recent decades.[citation needed] Researchers from the London School of Economics found that one reason for this trend was that the expansion of higher education in the UK has disproportionately benefited those from better off backgrounds.[citation needed] A follow-up report by the LSE group in 2008 concluded that social mobility had levelled off, with children born in 2000 facing the same mobility prospects as those children born 30 years earlier.[citation needed] In the Mobility Manifesto commissioned and published by the Trust is 2010, the Boston Consultancy Group analysed a range of new innovative educational policies to access their relative effectiveness in terms of boosting social mobility.[citation needed]

Pupil Premium Toolkit The Toolkit, developed by academics at Durham University provides an easily accessible guide for teachers and schools on how best to use the Pupil Premium to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.[citation needed] The toolkit assesses over 20 different approaches to improving learning in schools, estimating the extra progress over the course of a school year that an ‘average’ student might expect if this strategy was adopted. It identifies the strength of the existing research evidence and makes an estimate of the costs of adopting the approaches.[citation needed]

The Sutton Trust 13[edit]

The Sutton Trust initially picked a list of 13 UK universities which were identified as "research-led universities" and "those ranked the highest in an average of published university league tables", for the purposes of monitoring social mobility in 2000. These universities were in alphabetical order:[1]

University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Durham University, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, London School of Economics, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, University of St Andrews, University College London, University of Warwick, University of York

In 2011, the Trust updated their methodology to take in the 30 "most highly selective" British universities, which were "also the 30 most selective according to the Times University Guide" for the purpose of illustrating the relative number of students from poor backgrounds enrolled here against the rest of the institutions. These are, in alphabetical order:[2]

University of Bath, University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, Durham University, University of Edinburgh, University of Exeter, University of Glasgow, Imperial College, King's College London, University of Lancaster, University of Leeds, University of Leicester, University of Liverpool, London School of Economics, University of Manchester, University of Newcastle, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, University of Reading, Royal Holloway, University of London, University of Sheffield, University of Southampton, University of St Andrews, University of Strathclyde, University of Surrey, University College London, University of Warwick and University of York.[2]

Education Endowment Foundation[edit]

In 2011 the Sutton Trust, as the lead charity in a partnership with the Impetus Trust, was awarded a £125 million arm's length grant by the Government to establish a major new initiative to boost the attainment of some of the country's most disadvantaged children.[citation needed] The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) will be used to initiate grants and seek proposals from schools, teachers, local authorities and charities to improve the performance of poor pupils in the country's most challenging schools.[citation needed]

Media coverage[edit]

A report published by the Trust in 2012 showing that of students who attended summer schools run by the Trust, 76% gained places at leading universities; the figure for students not attending the summer schools was 55%.[3][4]

In 2012, the Sutton Trust announced the formation of an Independent Commission to review the impact of higher tuition fees.[5]

A 2010 study by the Trust shows that more than a third of MPs elected in the 2010 general election attended fee-paying schools, even though they educate just seven per cent of the population.[6]

In 2006, the charity published a report showing that the number of 'top jobs' going to pupils from fee-paying schools had increased since the Labour Government came to power in 1997.[7] In 2007, another report was published highlighting the high proportion of Oxford and Cambridge undergraduates who came from "a small cadre of elite 'feeder' [mostly fee-paying] schools."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sutton Trust 13". Sutton Trust. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Degrees of Success University Chances by Individual School". Sutton Trust. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Burns, Judith (2012-01-18). "BBC News - Summer schools 'help poorer students' applications'". Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  4. ^ Jeevan Vasagar, education editor (2012-01-18). "Summer schools lead to better chance of top university place, says study | Education". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  5. ^ Grove, Jack (2012-01-27). "Impact of fees hike to be monitored by independent commission". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  6. ^ Paton, Graeme (2010-05-10). "General Election 2010: MPs more 'socially exclusive'". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  7. ^ Institute of Education (2006). "The Educational and Career Trajectories of Assisted Place Holders". Sutton Trust. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Meikle, James (19 September 2007). "Third of Oxbridge come from 100 schools". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 

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