Commenting on the Social Mobility Commission’s report on disadvantaged pupils’ progress at secondary school, Sir Peter Lampl, Founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“These are very worrying findings. They echo some earlier Sutton Trust research which showed a dip in performance for able disadvantaged pupils in secondary schools. It is vital that all pupils are enabled to reach their potential, and schools should use the pupil premium effectively to do this. That’s why it is so important that schools use evidence of what works best and that they ensure they have high expectations of disadvantaged pupils.

“The biggest difference for poorer pupils is made through good teaching. Teachers must be given the training and development they need to make a difference. And it is important to remember that some schools do get excellent results for their poorest pupils, and all schools can learn from the best.”


  • The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 170 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.
  • The Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research developed by the EEF in collaboration with the Sutton Trust and a team of academics at Durham University led by Professor Steve Higgins. The expanded Toolkit covers 34 topics and summarises research from over 10,000 studies.  The Toolkit is a live resource which is regularly updated. It’s designed to help schools spend their pupil premium funding in ways that improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.
  • Missing Talent found that there are 7,000 high achievers at primary school – pupils scoring in the top 10% nationally in their Key Stage 2 (KS2) tests – who five years later receive a set of GCSE results that place them outside the top 25% of pupils. Boys, and particularly pupil premium eligible boys, are most likely to be in this missing talent group.
  • Subject to Background found that bright but disadvantaged students were significantly more likely to go on to get four or more AS-levels when they had attended any pre-school, especially one of higher quality (rather than no pre-school) and where they had competent teachers and engaged in academic enrichment activities at home, such as reading or learning opportunities including family visits to museums and galleries, between the ages of 11 and 14.

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