Britain’s lack of social mobility is particularly persistent at both the top and bottom of society: the privately educated continue to dominate the leading professions and the proportion of children leaving school without basic numeracy and literacy skills remains stubbornly high. Education has largely failed to be the great social leveller; and widening inequality has limited social mobility. Failure to tackle immobility in modern Britain will not only cost the country economically, but lead to ever deeper divisions in society. What can be done?
Dr Lee Elliot Major is Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust, the UK's leading foundation improving social mobility. His book Social Mobility and its Enemies is being published by Penguin in September 2018. He commissioned and co-authored the Sutton Trust-EEF toolkit summarizing evidence on what works to improve school attainment for disadvantaged pupils – a guide used by school leaders across the world.
He is a founding trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation and Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter. He was previously an education journalist at the Guardian and Times Higher Education Supplement. He has a PhD in theoretical physics and was the first in his family to attend university.