Sutton Trust founder Sir Peter Lampl tells his story on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.
Sir Peter Lampl was castaway by Kirsty Young for BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on Sunday. From the Beach Boys to the Sound of Music, Sir Peter recalled the songs that have made an impact on him throughout his life, and reflected on what led him to focus his efforts on improving social mobility.
Sir Peter spoke of his time in the US, where he set up the Sutton Company, a private equity firm. His motivations for starting the Sutton Trust began when he returned to the UK from the States and saw the many changes in the education system that had occurred while he was away. He looked into how many state school students were attending Oxbridge compared to when he attended, and found that the number had sharply declined. He took this research to Oxford, and proposed a summer school for state school students. 16 of the sixth-formers who went on that first summer school ended up winning places at Oxford.
Sir Peter also discussed the Sutton Trust’s campaign for more degree level apprenticeships, citing the fact that students are currently graduating with around £50,000 worth of debt and 20-25% are in non-graduate employment three years after graduation. He cited our Levels of Success report, which finds that degree-level apprenticeships result in greater lifetime earnings than degrees from non-Russell Group universities. He said that apprenticeships have the advantage of being able to earn while you learn, and end up with a qualification with no debt.
Among Sir Peter’s musical choices were the Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel and Tchaikovsky. He asked for the complete works of Robert Frost and two cases of champagne, one for him and one for his rescuers.