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Our research

The Sutton Trust has produced and commissioned over 170 pieces of research on policy and practice across the broad and complex area of social mobility – from the early years through to university access – reflecting the varied obstacles facing young people from non-privileged backgrounds.

Our research has produced some astonishing statistics which reveal the current state of low social mobility in the UK and the disproportionate representation of the most affluent independent school students in top universities and professions. In this way, our research informs government, educational practitioners and policy-makers, helping to shape education and employment policy and practice.

Latest and previous research


A new generation of comprehensive educated Olympic medallists – including Laura Trott and Mo Farah – is challenging the traditional dominance of independent schools in elite sports. However, Team GB’s top Olympians are still four times more likely to have been privately educated than the population as a whole, particularly in sports like rowing and hockey.  Read more>>>

Olympics research (2012)

Over one third (36%) of British medal winners in the 2012 London Olympics were educated at fee-paying schools, which educate just 7% of the school population, a study by the Sutton Trust reveals. Read more>>>

Leading People 2016 

The educational backgrounds of people at the top of the professions, across a range of sectors. These include members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, leading news journalists, top medical professionals, FTSE 100 chief executives, university vice-chancellors, leading scientists and scholars and a selection of the most famous people in the arts. Read more>>>