Responding to Department for Education figures that show private school students were five times as likely to go to Oxbridge as their state school peers in 2011 James Turner, Director of Programmes at the Sutton Trust said:

“The Sutton Trust welcomes the publication of this data to shed further light‎ on the important issue of access to elite universities. It builds on work we undertook in 2011.

“At the Sutton Trust we have been working to improve access to elite universities for more than 15 years. Our UK summer school offers over 1,900 state school students from less advantaged backgrounds the opportunity to find out what it is like to be an undergraduate at one of ten leading institutions, including Cambridge University. Independent evaluation has shown that the scheme is successful.  Over three quarters (76%) of young people who attend a summer school go on to a leading university compared to just over half (55%) of students with similar academic and social profiles who are not on the scheme.

“This summer we are also running the second year of our teacher summer school programme, hosted by Cambridge, Durham and St Andrews University. This gives 200 teachers from state schools which don’t send many students to top universities the chance to find out how to prepare their students for Oxbridge and other elite universities.

“Of course, the main driver of inequalities in access to university remains the stubborn link between attainment at school and family background. The Sutton Trust, working with its sister charity the Education Endowment Foundation, is aiming to tackle this issue early on, closing the gap so that more low income young people are in the running for top universities. “


  1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 140 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 Sutton Trust Summer Schools are free, subject-specific residential courses for Year 12 students from UK state-maintained schools. The summer schools allow bright students from non-privileged homes a taste of life at a leading university and to gain an insight into what it is like to live and study as a first-year undergraduate student. The summer schools balance busy academic days with enjoyable social activities, as well as provide attendees with the opportunity to meet current staff and students.The programme reaches over 1,900 sixth form students across ten leading universities – Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Imperial, King’s College London, Nottingham, the Royal Veterinary College, St Andrews and UCL.
  3. For more information on the Education Endowment Foundation see here.

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