Responding to Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt’s speech later today on independent schools Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust, said;

“Our research has shown that by age 42 a privately educated student will earn nearly £200,000 more than one who is state educated, and that private school students are 55 times more likely to win an Oxbridge place than a pupil from a state school on free school meals.

“Building and strengthening independent state school partnerships which we started with the government in 1999 can help break down these barriers and improve opportunities for pupils to access specialist teachers, good university links and first class sports facilities.

“Whoever is elected in May should strengthen support for such partnerships and encourage sharing of best practice. It is important that the right infrastructure and evaluation is in place, as well as funding, if they are to work effectively.

“However, we would like to see the parties embracing a much more radical step too and support a national Open Access scheme to enable 100 or more leading independent day schools to open their doors to all on the basis of ability rather than ability to pay.”


  1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 150 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.
  2. Sutton Trust research found less than one student in a hundred admitted to Oxbridge between 2005 and 2007 had been eligible for free school meals whereas nearly half the intake came from independent schools. A private school pupil is therefore 55 times more likely to win an Oxbridge place than one eligible for free school meals.
  3. Open Access is based on a successful pilot run at Belvedere School in Liverpool between 2000 and 2007 and has the backing of around 90 leading independent schools. An independent evaluation of the scheme was carried out by the Social Market Foundation earlier this year.

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