Professor Lee  Elliot Major

Professor Lee Elliot Major

Visiting Professor

International Inequalities Institute

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Key Expertise
Social Mobility, Education

About me

Lee Elliot Major OBE, 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 improving the prospects of disadvantaged young people.

His Penguin book Social Mobility and Its Enemies, co-authored with Stephen Machin, has attracted attention across the world. In his TEDx talk in 2019, Lee describes an ‘escalating arms race of education’ in which the poorest children are increasingly ill-equipped to fight. His Bloomsbury book What Works?co-authored with Steve Higgins, offers best bets to teachers for improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. His latest book What Do We Know and What Should We Do About Social Mobility? is being published by SAGE in 2020.

Lee was formerly Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust and a trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation. He is an Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute of Education. He is an Associate Member of Nuffield College, University of Oxford, an Associate of LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, and an Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute of Education. 

Lee regularly appears in national media and gives public lectures. As a Professor of Practice he is focused on the impact of research, working closely with schools, universities, employers and policy makers. He argues that social mobility is about securing decent jobs in local communities not just catapulting a lucky few to the top. He has warned there will be a ‘clash of classes’ as students compete for elite university places. He has proposed a National Tutoring Service to help schools improve outcomes for poorer pupils.

He 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 the first in his family to attend university. His OBE was awarded for services to social mobility.

Listen to Podagogy podcast episode Social mobility with Lee Elliot Major (Season 7, Episode 2).

Expertise Details

Social Mobility; Education



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