Professor Elliot Major is a leading expert on how to tackle Britain’s low social mobility

Leading social mobility expert awarded OBE

Britain’s first Professor of Social Mobility has been awarded OBE for his work helping schools and universities to improve the prospects of disadvantaged young people.

Professor Lee Elliot Major is a leading expert on how to tackle Britain’s low social mobility. He was formerly Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust and is a founding trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation, which has carried out hundreds of major research trials in England’s schools.

The University of Exeter expert has served on several Government advisory bodies and presented several times to the House of Commons Education Select Committee.

His Penguin book Social Mobility and Its Enemies, co-authored with Stephen Machin, has attracted attention across the world. Professor Elliot Major’s forthcoming Bloomsbury book What Works?, co-authored with Steve Higgins, summarises hundreds of meta-analyses in education and offers best bets to teachers for improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

Professor Elliot Major is a senior visiting fellow at the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute and an Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute of Education. He commissioned and co-authored the Sutton Trust-EEF toolkit, a guide used by hundreds of thousands of school leaders and replicated across the world.

He said: “I am honoured to receive this recognition. Improving social mobility has always been a personal as well as professional passion, which makes it all the more special. I owe so much to others who have helped me along the way, and those I’ve worked alongside with - dedicated to improving the education and life prospects of children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“It’s only through collective effort that we’ll tackle Britain’s low social mobility - one of the country’s biggest social challenges.”

Professor Elliot Major, who regularly appears in national broadcast and print media, commenting on education and social mobility issues, has a PhD in theoretical physics and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Sheffield for services to education.  He was an education journalist working for the Guardian and the Times Higher Education Supplement. He is a Governor at William Ellis School. He is the first in his family to attend university.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter said: “Lee's tireless work, over many years, to improve social mobility in the UK, has made a huge contribution to tackling the issue and thereby improving the prospects of disadvantaged young people across the country. This honour is richly deserved."

Date: 8 June 2019

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