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29th November 2012

Top professions dominated by private school leavers

Oxbridge and leading private schools produce the majority of top professionals

Attending Eton and Oxbridge remains the path to success in the UK, according to a report by the Sutton Trust.

The Trust found that 31 percent of those in top professions in the UK studied at Oxbridge, whilst 44 percent were privately educated.

Ten leading independent schools account for 12 percent of the total, with Eton College alone responsible for 4 percent. Only 21 percent went to a state school, and 27 percent to a grammar school.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust, said that the figures show “how dominant leading universities and schools remain across the professions in Britain,” and that it is “important that access to our leading schools and universities is on the basis of ability alone.”

The report says that “independent schools make up 7 per cent of the school population, yet constitute over half the leading news journalists, medics, chief executives, and 70 per cent of barristers and judges”.

22 per cent of those researched had no higher education, whilst 20 per cent attended a leading university other than Oxbridge, including the University of Manchester.

Julian Skyrme, Head of Widening Participation at the University of Manchester, hailed this as “an important report.”

He said: “The nation’s ‘leading people’ in this report are dominated by people who went to top universities like Manchester and schools in the independent sector.

“Among the leading institutions in the report, we are proud that Manchester takes in the highest number of learners from state schools, lower socio-economic groups and low participation neighbourhoods.”

Around 22 per cent of students at the University of Manchester are thought to be privately educated, although the university also accepts the highest number of students from ‘low participation areas’ of the Russell Group.

The report’s findings were based on 7,637 people who had been educated in the UK, and whose birthdays were noted by national newspapers during 2011.

Last week another report suggested that poor advice and lack of confidence were preventing high achieving state-school pupils from aiming for the best universities.

Sir Peter said that the survey demonstrates “how far we still need to go to improve social mobility in this country.”

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