Responding to the AOC’s findings on the difference in funding between 16-18 year olds in state and private education James Turner, Sutton Trust Director of Programmes said:

 “We are very concerned about the impact on social mobility of the increasing disparity in spending on privately educated and state funded sixth formers.

 “This report shows that, on average, private sixth forms spend nearly three times as much as state providers on each student. Furthermore, private schools are increasing spending on sixth formers whilst state funding is frozen, which means this gap is set to widen even further.

 “We know good teaching in the right subjects is vital to tackling the seven fold university access gap between students from the richest and poorest backgrounds. However, this report shows that whilst the private sector recognises the need to invest in sixth form education, spending an average 7% more on sixth formers than 11-15 year olds, the state sector is funding six formers 22% less than 11-15 year olds on average.

 “While money is not everything, the widening gap between state and private funding of sixth form and college students should be addressed if we are serious about our commitment to fair access for all to the top universities.”


  • 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.
  • The Sutton Trust’s week long UK summer schools are designed to give bright students from non-privileged homes a taste of life at a leading university.  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. Independent evaluation has shown that young people have a significantly higher chance of going to a leading university if they attend one of the summer schools, with over three quarters (76%) going on to a leading university (either a member of the Russell or 1994 Groups) compared to just over half (55%) of students with similar academic and social profiles who did not apply to the scheme.

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