Tuesday 30 April 2019


Social mobility and its enemies

Lee Elliot Major

The uncomfortable truth is that we are all, to some extent, enemies of social mobility. Far from acting as the great social leveller, the education system in the UK has been commandeered by the middle classes to retain their advantage.

In his recent book, co-authored with LSE economist Stephen Machin, Lee Elliot Major concludes that the dream of just doing better, let alone climbing the income ladder, is dying for young people today. The book calls for radical steps to address Britain’s low social mobility. Failure to do so, it warns, will lead to deeper societal divides and the prospect of social unrest.

Lee Elliot Major

Lee is the country’s first Professor of Social Mobility. Appointed by the University of Exeter to be a global leader in the field, his work is dedicated to help schools, universities and organisations select and develop talent from all backgrounds.

He was formerly Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust, the UK’s leading foundation improving social mobility, founded by Sir Peter Lampl. Lee is a trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation and was previously an education journalist. He is the first in his family to attend university.

His 2018 book, Social Mobility and Its Enemies, has attracted attention across the world. His forthcoming book What Works? reviews evidence from around the world to provide schools with best bets for improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

Photo: Tristram Kenton

'Social Mobility and Its Enemies' is the most comprehensive account ever published on Britain’s low social mobility. It reveals how the rich and poor are destined to stay on the same rungs of the economic or social ladder – at great social and economic cost to the nation.