Right to Succeed is a charity with a mission to develop, pilot and scale solutions to educational inequality.

Our Vision

Our vision is that the only barriers to success should be hard work and focus. We therefore aim to eliminate the effects of poverty and system failure upon the achievement of young people, giving every child the Right to Succeed.

Our Approach

Our approach is to bring together best practice educationalists & deliverers, philanthropists, government commissioners, and social investors to:

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One. Develop collaborative solutions to the systemic problems of educational inequality
Two. Pilot these solutions at a size where they can be robustly proven
Three. Scale and replicate the effective solutions until they reach a systemic scale


Right to Succeed’s first project is to develop a school-led approach to turning around challenged secondary schools in low-income communities.

The project will support schools through a 4 stage change process, during which they will receive access to the evidence based support and resource they require to deliver their turnaround vision. To qualify, schools will be in the lowest quartile for disadvantage (circa 40%+ of pupils eligible for Free School Meals over the last 6 years), hold an OFSTED grade 3 (requires improvement) or grade 4 (inadequate), be achieving a grade C or worse on the best 8 GCSE measure and serve at least 600 pupils. The programme will support schools over 3.5 years to deliver the change, setting in place the structures and processes to for the school to continually improve outcomes through evidence. The first programme will take place in Blackpool from September 2015.

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“Right to Succeed is taking on the ambitious and exciting goal of harnessing and building upon excellent practice within the education sector to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. Building on and embedding outstanding practice in our schools holds the key to addressing educational inequality and so I am excited by the potential our partnership holds.” 

Brett Wigdortz, Founder and CEO, Teach First

Our People


Sarah Evans – Chair

Sarah is also the founder and Chair of the Westside School, an alternative provision school started in 2006, with a broad GCSE and vocational programme, focusing on supporting vulnerable young people aged 11-16yrs and helping them get back on track in education. Sarah is a board member for the MaRS Solution Lab in Canada, an advisor for the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation and was for 10 years a governor for the Wellington Academy Trust.

Dame Joan McVittie – Vice Chair

Dame Joan, Chair of Right to Succeed is currently an Education Consultant. She was awarded a Damehood in honour of her contribution to education in December 2012. Dame Joan has 18 years’ experience as a secondary head in inner city schools in challenging areas, including Woodside High, Haringey, in 2006 which Ofsted rated as outstanding in two successive inspections. In 2011 – 2012, Dame Joan was the President of the Association of School and College Leaders. She was a member of the governing council of the National College, a trustee of the Youth Sports Trust, is still a trustee of the Education and Employers Task Force and is the Lay member on the Heart and Lung Transplant Board for NHS Blood and Transplant.

Dame Joan joined RtS because she wanted the opportunity to continue to make a difference after her retirement from headship. She believes RtS is an initiative that can really make a difference to young people in deprived areas.

Sir Professor John Bell

Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and Chairman of the OSCHR (Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research).

Jill Finney

Jill has spent her career in Strategic Marketing and Comms and has experience at Director level across the private and public sector which includes manufacturing , professional services , The British Library and Regulation. She was the Deputy Chief Executive of the health and social care regulator: The Care Quality Commission. Jill now manages a portfolio of non executive positions in higher education and the charitable sector advising on strategy, governance and communications.

Jill wanted to join RtS because it is drawing attention to and tackling one of our greatest injustices: educational inequality – tangibly making a difference to the educational opportunity of young people in blighted areas.

Anthony Harte

Anthony is Senior Vice President (EMEA) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML). Anthony oversees the firm’s philanthropic programme and is part of the leadership team for Environment, Social and Governance in the EMEA region. Before joining BofAML, Anthony established the Community Affairs platform at Nomura and prior to this worked within the Philanthropy and Cultural Partnership team at Lehman Brothers.

Anthony is involved with RtS because he believes it has a real opportunity to tackle educational inequality head on and deliver solutions which can scale, using an evidence-based model.

Sir John Hood

Chair of Rhodes Trust and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, the first Vice-Chancellor to be elected from outside Oxford’s academic body in 900 years.

Jo Owen

Jo is a co-founder of eight charities in education and re-offending including Teach First, the UK’s largest graduate recruiter. He is a top author and speaker on leadership: his books have reached over 50 editions globally and include How to Lead, Global Teams and Tribal Business School. He was a partner at Accenture; he started a bank, has been sued for $12 billion and was the best nappy salesman in Birmingham while working for P&G.

Jo believes that education is our future, and that RtS can shape that future through innovation.

Charles Scott

Charles has had 33 years as a management consultant and was a founding partner of The Berkeley Partnership, a highly regarded independent consultancy. His current activities are varied: non-executive chairman of T H White, a mechanical engineering business; a qualified Meyler Campbell business coach; chair of a small music charity for young people; and school governor of Ark Conway primary school.

Since leaving Berkeley, Charles has become increasingly interested and involved with the world of education and is a huge believer that every child, whatever their background, should have the opportunities provided by a great education.

David Sheldon – Treasurer

David was Director of Finance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He has built finance teams covering derivative and funding products across banking. David qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PwC and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

David’s passion for education, knowledge of financial models and appreciation of results based payments led to his commitment to RtS.

Chris White

Chris is Co-Founder of ZING – a seed funder of early stage organisations focusing on young people realising their potential, often in the transition between education and the workplace. ZING also brings about scalable web and mobile technologies to the not-for-profit sector.

Chris is involved with RtS as he is very taken with the systemic, evidence-based approach and the desire to replicate and scale.


Graeme Duncan – Chief Executive

Graeme was the first graduate hired by Teach First in 2003, teaching for two years in a secondary school serving a highly disadvantaged community, where he led the Maths Faculty. He then joined London First, a business lobby group, as Executive Assistant to the CEO, Baroness Valentine, before focusing on education and immigration projects. From there he joined Teach First in 2008 to work on fundraising, policy and public affairs before, in 2010, becoming Director of Development at Greenhouse, a charity that uses sport to engage and develop young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. In June 2014, he stepped out to set up Right to Succeed.

Paul O’Neil – Director of Programmes

Paul leads on the strategic and operational delivery of our programmes, being responsible for quality assurance and overseeing relationships with schools, delivery partners, external organisations and local authorities. He has managed numerous programmes and interventions in education and the third sector, joining RtS from The Children’s Society where he led large multi-site teams through transformational change initiatives.

After an early career as a professional athlete, Paul has also managed a school based inclusion unit, operated as Director of a Football Academy and taught at the University of Manchester since 2012 specialising in Psychology, Social Justice and Youth Intervention within the University’s School of Law.

Paul is a school governor at Abraham Moss Community School in Manchester and a member of the UK Policy and Practice Network for the University of Manchester’s Promoting Youth Involvement and Social Engagement EU research project.

Beth MathesonChief Operating Officer

Beth is our interim Finance Director and is responsible for budgets, financial reporting and all other aspects of financial management within RTS.

Having qualified as an ACA at Deloitte, she has spent the last ten years working in the not-for-profit field, heading up the finance function or part thereof of various international organisations, including Amnesty International International Secretariat. Prior to joining RtS, Beth had a short stint as a Finance and Resources Director for a London-based Ark Academy, which sparked her interest in getting involved in education improvement. She currently also works part time as Head of Finance for Age UK London.

Zoya Wallington – Impact Manager

Zoya leads on impact management, insights and analysis. In her previous role Zoya led on research with 40 schools on behalf of Teach First, Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders Trust. The three-year collective impact approach was supported by the Education Endowment Foundation to test whether investing intensively in professional development for teachers, could accelerate closing the achievement gap for pupils in areas of high deprivation.

Zoya has published work on user voice on behalf of Shelter and the End Child Poverty Coalition and has led research into inclusion and youth leadership working with schools, specialist providers, special schools and pupil referral units across the UK.

Vanessa Lye – Team Coordinator

Vanessa is responsible for managing the office, programme support and team coordination. Vanessa joins the team from the Clore Social Leadership Programme where she was coordinating their flagship Fellowship programme.

Our Partners


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Ambition School Leadership
Teacher Development Trust

Development Partners

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The Funding Network

Join Us

Overcoming a problem as systemic as educational inequality will require a huge collaborative effort. You can help us in 3 ways:

Partner with us.

If you would like to develop, pilot and scale collaborative solutions to the systemic problems of educational inequality them please get in touch by emailing hello@righttosucceed.org.uk.

Work for us.

If you are passionate about improving educational outcomes for young people, thrive on a challenge and recognise the value of a collaborative approach, please send a covering letter, CV and Equal Opportunities Employment Form (found below) to recruit@righttosucceed.org.uk for any of the roles below. Your letter should outline your interest in the role. It should also detail how your skills and experience meet the specified requirements.

Equal Opportunities Employment Monitoring Form

We do not have any open vacancies currently.


To find out more

If you want to find out more about our work, then please drop us a line on hello@righttosucceed.org.uk.

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