Leicester academic praises scheme allowing working class children to shine

A University of Leicester scientist has discussed his involvement with an educational opportunities programme, organised by The Sutton Trust, that inspired him to pursue his studies in planetary science.

Dr Leigh Fletcher (pictured), from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has spoken about his involvement in the scheme which helped to send teenagers from working class backgrounds to elite universities.

After spending a week-long summer school at Cambridge University, Dr Fletcher was inspired to study there. He spent time working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab is now a Research Fellow in Planetary Science at the University of Leicester.

In a blog post, Dr Fletcher discussed the Sutton Trust scheme, he said: “Twenty years ago, Sir Peter Lampl founded the Sutton Trust, an organisation dedicated to improving social mobility through education, firstly in the UK and more recently in the USA.

“As a 17-year old in Leicestershire, I benefited from winning a place on one of their summer schools in 1999, only the third year that the programme had been running.

“My Nan had spotted a story about the new summer school in the Daily Mirror and encouraged me to have a go.  Now, 18 years later, I’ve been extremely fortunate to work in some of the world’s top universities, and I look back extremely fondly on my experiences with the Sutton Trust.

“Every child, no matter their social background or economic status, deserves the opportunity to shine, to develop their talents, and to access the best possible education.”

The Sun have relaunched the Sutton Trust scheme which Dr Fletcher was involved in, under the name Sun Scholars, and they ran a feature on Dr Fletcher: The full article from The Sun can be viewed here

Dr Fletcher’s blog post, 'Twenty Years of the Sutton Trust is available here