New research conducted by the Sutton Trust educational charity officially confirms that the leading professions are dominated by the privately educated. The revelation has been condemned by the social mobility commission who have argued that the underprivileged are “too often shut out from Britain’s top jobs”.
Sir Peter Lampl, chair of the Sutton Trust, stated: “Our research shows that your chances of reaching the top in so many areas of British life are very much greater if you went to an independent school”.
7% of the population attended private school, and yet the survey has revealed that the percentage of those in top professions are disproportionately privately educated; 74% of top judges working in the high court were privately educated. In journalism, 51% of prominent print journalists attended independent schools.
Published this month, the report points out that leading law firms have adopted a number of social-mobility programmes and the Solicitors Regulation Authority now collects data on solicitors’ educational backgrounds.
The report also details the educational backgrounds of leading figures in varied aspects of public life, film and music being two primary areas of consideration. It confirms, for example, that award-winning British actors are more than twice as likely to hail from a private education than award-winning singers, while 42% of British Bafta winners attended independent school, 19% of British winners at the Brit awards were educated privately.
The report highlights the fact that many British musicians such as Adele, found fame after attending the famous Brit school, a state-funded institution.
The latest government figures indicate that there is also an imbalance in the number of private school students who attend university compared to state educated peers.
According to the figures, released at the end of January, pupils from independent schools are more than twice as likely to attend a Russell Group university than those students who went to a state school. Furthermore, those educated in fee paying schools are five times more likely to attend Oxford for Cambridge. Only one in every 100 people with a state school education go on to study at these higher education institutions.
Alan Milburn, chair of the social mobility commission, has stated: “This report underlines how those from less privileged families are too often shut out from Britain’s top jobs. But it also shows that where firms commit to fairness, progress is possible”.