The Sutton Trust was founded in 1997 by Sir Peter Lampl to improve social mobility through education. As well as being a think-tank, the Sutton Trust is a ‘do-tank,’ having funded over 200 programmes, commissioned over 180 research studies and influenced Government education policy by pushing social mobility to the top of the political agenda.
We work to combat educational inequality and prevent the subsequent waste of talent. We are particularly concerned with breaking the link between educational opportunities and family background, and in realising a system in which young people are given the chance to prosper, regardless of their family background, school or neighbourhood. Low social mobility and lack of educational opportunity is arguably the biggest social challenge of our times: the income gap between the richest and poorest in society continues to widen, while education opportunities remain overwhelmingly dominated by children from the most privileged homes.
As disadvantage starts before young people are born and continues through to the workplace, the Trust’s interest covers parenting and early years projects, primary and secondary schooling and access to university and the professions. At later ages we have a particular focus on academically talented young people with the potential to study at leading, highly-selective universities.
We focus our efforts in three distinct areas;
We have funded over 200 programmes to address educational inequality including our flagship UK Summer School Programme, our more recent US Summer School Programme and career specific programmes such as our successful ‘Pathways to Law’ programme and our new ‘Pathways to Medicine’ and ‘Pathways to STEM’ programmes.
It is only by understanding the root causes of educational inequalities that the Trust can identify and promote effective solutions to combating them, so research is an important part of our work. The Trust has commissioned over 180 research studies in a broad range of areas and this list continues to grow as we identify emerging areas of interest.
Our most significant achievement and source of leverage is our impact on Government education policy and education spending. Our approach is called strategic philanthropy. Strategic philanthropy involves leveraging our work to ensure wider impact. We achieve this by both generating private funding for scale-up of proven programmes or influencing Government policy/spending and public debate.