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Lesson learned: A practical guide for universities and partners for running a high quality university-led tutoring programme

This report outlines practical lessons for universities considering setting up a tutoring programme to improve the attainment of school pupils.

It is based on our experience delivering a small proof-of-concept pilot for tutoring run at the University of Exeter in partnership with St James School in Exeter. The pilot tested a model of delivery in which second, third and fourth year undergraduates undertook a tutoring placement as part of an accredited university module. The undergraduates delivered a foundational literacy course to twelve/13 year olds (Year 8 pupils) in addition to taking part in classroom observation at the school.

Assessments reviewing how well pupils were able to write accurate sentences improved by 100% after the nine-week intervention.

We are now trialling a scale-up of the programme with universities and Uni Connect partners in the South West and elsewhere. For more information and to find out how to get involved, please see: Uni Tutoring Service (

S‌ocial Mobility in the South West: Levelling up through Education

This report offers a major contribution to national efforts to level up opportunities and improve the skills and education of young people across the country.

The proposals within directly address the Levelling Up White Paper's key requirements and its 2030 missions on education and skills, and ultimately living standards.

The full report can be read Social Mobility in the South West: Levelling up through education

Centre for Social Mobility Seminar 'Higher Education policy in England: How we got here, what could happen next and how you can influence it'

In December 2022 we welcomed Professor Christopher Millward, Professor of Practice in Education Policy, University of Birmingham  to present a seminar

This session described how 21st century governments in England have pursued equality of opportunity in a knowledge economy through the expansion of higher education. This includes higher education legislation in 2004 and 2017, changes to fees, student finance and teaching funding from 2006 and 2012, and reforms to access regulation, quality assessment and research funding across the period. It concludes by identifying the reasons for the different approach to higher education adopted by the government since the 2019 general election, the implications of this for the relationship between government and universities, and how this could change in the future, taking into account developments elsewhere across UK. 

The recording of the seminar is available to view here

Catalysing Institutional Reform: Creating an inclusive learning environment for British Muslim students

In September 2021 the Centre for Social Mobility was delighted to host an online event with Dr Zain Sardar from the Aziz Foundation.

He presented findings of his recent work examining the experience of British Muslim students in higher education and sharing recommendations on approaches to building an inclusive learning environment.

Here we have the recording of that online event alongside the full report of Dr Sardar's findings.

Empowering Partnerships: Enabling Engagement Project

This website provides dedicated guidance for academics and schools working collaborative projects framed around their research.

Supporting engaged research

This document provides advice on how to integrate tools for evaluation into educational/ engagement activities.


Students as Insurers (lecture capture)- Dr Neil Harrison

The future of Higher Education

In this video, our Academic Director Anna Mountford-Zimdars is hosted as an international expert at the University of Eastern Michigan.

Jeffrey Grim has visited the Centre for Social Mobility for two summers in 2018 and 2019 to collaborate on projects comparing education-based social mobility in the United States and England. Jeffrey is an accomplished student services professional who has chosen to undertake his doctoral studies at the University of Michigan. He teaches a course for university administrators. As part of this course, he invited our Academic Director to share her own journey into becoming a higher education equity researcher and the vision for the Centre for Social Mobility. 

'How it feels to rise from bin man to professor'

This article in the Sunday Times by Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter, examines the author's own educational history and professional aspirations.

Schools Week Lee Elliot-Major Profile

In this profile Lee Elliot-Major discusses his path to becoming the UK’s first professor of social mobility. Donna Ferguson finds out why he made the move to academia – and his latest plans to improve the life chances for the poorest pupils.

Social Mobility Talks Podcast

Here we have a podcast on the topic of parenting, a conversation between the Social Mobility Commision Chair, Katharine Birbalsingh and Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility at the University of Exeter