Responding to the North South divide highlighted in Ofsted’s Annual Report today, Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“Sir Michael Wilshaw is absolutely right to highlight England’s North South divide. Today’s report confirms our own research which has consistently shown that your chances of getting good GCSEs, attending a good university and accessing a professional job aren’t just a matter of ability, but are linked to where you live.

“The fact that students in the North and the Midlands, particularly those from low-income homes, are much less likely to attend an outstanding or good school than those in London and the South East, tells us that we urgently need a national drive to reduce educational inequalities and improve social mobility. All young people, regardless of where they live or their family background, should have access to great teaching as well as the chance to go to the best schools.”

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today:

“As today’s report shows, inconsistency between similar schools in different parts of the country is one of the biggest challenges we face in our drive to improve standards. Not only are educational outcomes linked to family income, but they’re also linked to where you live too.

“If young people are all to have the same chance of doing well regardless of where they live, schools need to make better use of what we know about what works and view evidence as a crucial tool to help them decide on the ‘best bets’ for spending limited resources.

“We need to see greater collaboration between schools too and a concerted effort to reach those in the ‘cold spots’ that today’s report identifies. At the Education Endowment Foundation, we have launched two campaigns – in Yorkshire and in the North East – to improve attainment for disadvantaged pupils. We’ll spend £15m over the next 5 years to build the evidence and apply what we know to improve outcomes for young people living in these areas.”


  1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 160 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. The Education Endowment Foundation, was set up in 2011 as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust, with a Department for Education grant of £125m. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £65 million to 115 projects working with over 718,944 pupils in over 6,040 schools across England to find evidence for the best ways of raising attainment.
  3. The Social Mobility Index ranks all 533 parliamentary constituencies in England according to five measures of social mobility through education. Looking at outcomes from the early years through to professional life, the data shows how well each constituency is doing in improving prospects for their most disadvantaged young people.

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