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What is Social Mobility?

“The relation between a person’s adult life and their circumstances and background as a child.”

Sir Peter Lampl founded the Sutton Trust in 1997 to improve social mobility through education. For the past 21 years the charity has worked to combat educational inequality and prevent the subsequent waste of talent in Britain.

The Trust is recognised in the UK as the leading organisation dedicated to improving social mobility through education.

The charity’s aim is to continue and increase its impact on government policy to ensure that young people in the UK receive the same educational opportunities irrelevant of class or background.

Social challenge

The Sutton Trust believes that low social mobility and lack of educational opportunity in the UK is one of the country’s biggest social challenges.

The income gap between the richest and poorest in society continues to widen and educational opportunities and access to high quality teaching is dominated by children from privileged homes who have the resources to afford the best support.

The Sutton Trust’s research has highlighted Britain’s low social mobility in comparison with other countries.

Its seminal 2005 study with the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE compared data from children born in the 1950s with the 1970s and concluded that social mobility had declined in that period.

Worryingly, Britain’s social mobility score was lower than Canada, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweden, whilst it was level with the United States.

The research found that social mobility had declined for those born in the 1970s because of an increasing relationship between family income and educational attainment.

The Sutton Trust focuses its efforts in three areas:

  • Programmes: the charity has funded hundreds of educational programmes to address educational inequality.
  • Research: the charity has commissioned over 200research studies to understand the root causes of social mobility.
  • Advocacy: to impact on government education policy and spending through strategic philanthropy.