Sutton Trust

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The Sutton Trust is an educational charity in the UK which aims to improve social mobility and address educational disadvantage.

It describes itself as a 'do tank' (as opposed to a 'think tank'). It funds specific programmes, such as projects to improve access to universities, conducts research and lobbies government for changes to education policy, a role that it describes as 'strategic philanthropy'.[1]

It was established by Peter Lampl in 2007. Lampl is described as 'the UK's leading educational philanthropist', a 'confidant of cabinet ministers' and 'one of the most influential figures in British education'.[2]

Major projects

  • Education Endowment Foundation. The Sutton Trust, in a partnership with the Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus, The Private Equity Foundation) , was awarded a £135 million arm’s length grant in 2011 by the UK Government to establish a major initiative to 'boost the attainment of some of the country’s most disadvantaged children'. The grant-making charity, the Education Endowment Foundation, was set up to provide an evidence base for reform. It was inspired by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative in the USA. It is designated the 'What Works centre' for improving education outcomes for school-aged children. It is chaired by Peter Lampl.
  • Schools Toolkit. The Sutton Trust and Education Endowment Foundation have produced a 'toolkit' for schools. It is a summary of educational research which 'provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils'.[3]
  • All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility. The Sutton Trust acts as the secretariat for the APPG on Social Mobility.[4]


The Sutton Trust has partnered with, and commissioned research from, many organisations. These include:

  • Pearson: the Sutton Trust partnered with edu-business Pearson in 2014 on a Summit on apprenticeships and vocational education.[5] The Sutton Trust also co-hosted fringe events at the 2015 party conferences with Pearson.[6]
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Sutton Trust organised an international summit in Washington in October 2014 with the Gates Foundation on imrpoving teacher practice.[7]


  • Sir Peter Lampl: Chairman
  • Dr Lee Elliot Major: Chief Executive; also founding trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation, chairing its evaluation advisory board. He commissioned and is co-author of the Sutton Trust-EEF toolkit for schools. Previously an education journalist. He writes extensively on education policy, including on the direction of policy in the US. For example, in 2012, he blogged on 'The American Revolution in Teacher Evaluation': 'All across the United States, a revolution in education is taking place,' he writes, 'And it is likely to hit British schools anytime soon. Teachers are for the first time being evaluated on how effective they are in the classroom. The talisman for these bold reforms is one Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education.'[9]
  • Conor Ryan: Director, Research and Communications. Former senior education adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair from 2005-2007 and David Blunkett’s special adviser from 1993-2001, covering education policy and media relations in government and opposition. Ryan is a director of the Wellsway Multi-Accademy Trust, and a trustee of the National Foundation for Educational Research.[10]
  • Oliver Cardinali: lobbyist. Formerly consultant lobbyists with Whitehouse Consultancy, which says it has 'extensive experience' of working in the field of education and provides support to a large number of organisations including: children’s charities, education providers, representative groups and multi-academy trusts.



The Sutton Trust's predominently male strategic advisory and development board consists of the following people. They are decscribed as making an 'annual financial investment' in the Trust.



  1. About Us, Sutton Trust website, accessed July 2016
  2. Peter Wilby, Big spender, Guardian, March 2007
  3. Teaching and Learning Toolkit, EEF website, accessed July 2016
  4. APPG on Social Mobility, House of Commons website, access July 2016
  5. Higher Apprenticeships better for jobs than university degrees say public – new polling for Sutton Trust/Pearson Summit, Sutton Trust website, July 2014
  6. Pearson at the Party Conferences, Pearson website, 2015
  7. Improving the learning of teachers, Sutton Trust website, October 2014
  8. Premium Policies: What schools and teachers believe will improve standards for poorer pupils and those in low-attaining schools, BSC commissioned report, Jan 2016
  9. Lee Elliott Major, The American Revolution in Teacher Evaluation, Sutton Trust website, 29 November 2012
  10. Conor Ryan, Linkedin profile, accessed July 2016
  11. New School: 3 Ways Technology Will Transform the Classroom, Goldman Sachs website, June 2016
  12. Education, TCG Digital website, accessed july 2016