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Our research

The Sutton Trust has produced and commissioned over 180 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 research and some from the archive

Global gaps

This report draws on the 2015 OECD PISA scores to analyse the gaps in attainment between the top performers in the poorest and best off groups of UK children. Focusing on highly able 16 year olds across the four nations of the UK, it looks at overall performance and socio-economic gaps over time in reading, mathematics and science, in an international context of 38 OECD countries. The report reveals that while England’s highest achievers consistently score above the OECD average across the three subjects, bright but poor pupils lag behind their better-off classmates by around two years and eight months of schooling. Read more>>>

The Reading Gap (2013)

This report by Dr John Jerrim highlights the gap in achievement between high achieving boys from disadvantaged backgrounds and their better off peers. Read more>>>

Confusion in the ranks (2013)

The most recent international league tables of pupil performance differ considerably. England languishes well down the list in PISA 2009, stars in the Pearson Global Index 2012, and lies somewhere in-between in TIMSS 2011. This report seeks to explain the differences and highlight some underlying consistencies. Read more>>>

Missing Talent (2015)

Every year there are high achievers at primary school, pupils scoring in the top 10% nationally in their Key Stage 2 (KS2) tests, yet who five years later receive a set of GCSE results that place them outside the top 25% of pupils. There are about 7,000 such pupils each year, 15% of all those we term as highly able. Read more>>>