More than two-thirds of the members of Prime Minister Liz Truss’ cabinet were privately-educated, according to analysis by education charity The Sutton Trust.
It found that 68% of the most senior ministers attended fee-paying schools, the highest proportion of independently-educated ministers since John Major’s cabinet in 1992 (at 72%). According to the Sutton Trust, the number of cabinet ministers who attended fee-paying schools is almost ten times higher than the general population, which stands at around 7%.
19% of Truss’ ministers attended a comprehensive, while 10% were educated at grammar schools.
The Prime Minister herself was educated at a comprehensive school.
This proportion of alumni of independent schools is higher than Boris Johnson’s first cabinet (64%). It is more than twice that of Theresa May’s 2016 cabinet (30%), and more than both Cameron’s 2015 cabinet (50%) and the 2010 coalition cabinet (62%).
Of the 31 ministers attending Liz Truss’s new cabinet, 35% went to Oxford or Cambridge universities. This compares with 27% of all Conservative MPs, 18% of Labour MPs and 21% of all MPs.
29% of Truss’s cabinet were educated at other Russell Group universities (excluding Oxbridge).
“Today’s findings underline how unevenly spread opportunities to enter the most prestigious positions continue to be. Making the most of talent, regardless of their background, must be a priority.”
–Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust
Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation said: “In Liz Truss’s new cabinet, 68% went to private schools – almost 10 times the number in the general population.
“Truss continues the academic dynasty at No. 10 that stretches back to the start of World War II: except for Gordon Brown, every Prime Minister since 1940 who went to university went to Oxford.
“Liz Truss has pitched herself as the ‘education prime minister’, representing a potentially exciting opportunity to improve the school system and opportunities for children and young people across the country.
“Yet in terms of educational background, the make-up of her cabinet is less representative than that of her predecessor, with over two-thirds from independent schools. Today’s findings underline how unevenly spread opportunities to enter the most prestigious positions continue to be. Making the most of talent, regardless of their background, must be a priority.”
Parliamentary Privilege 2019 – a major piece of research surveying the education backgrounds of the House of Commons – showed that 29% of current MPs in the House of Commons come from a private school background. In the Conservative party, two-fifths (41%) of MPs attended an independent school, compared to 14% in the Labour party.