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Keith Budge: Why top professions favour independent school pupils

Category: In the News
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Bedales head Keith Budge writes for Telegraph Online about the Leading People 2016 report

Reading the Sutton Trust’s recent report on the educational backgrounds of the UK’s professional elite, I am taken back nearly 20 years to a large assembly hall in a faceless RAF base in Lincolnshire, where heads of independent and maintained schools were gathered to hear venerable, senior members of our three armed services tell us why we should be encouraging our students to join the Navy, Army and RAF.

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The Sutton Trust does commendable work in increasing the access for particularly able maintained sector students to top independent day schools through its Open Access scheme (which it would like to see expanded) and through its Pathways and summer school programmes.

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There are many areas of the Sutton Trust report which are intriguing, but for me the discussion about ‘soft skills’ is one of the most interesting. The report’s executive summary refers to the idea that “increasing importance is being attributed by recruiters to ‘soft skills’, including certain social skills which are not always as accessible to those from less privileged backgrounds.”

The main reason for this is far from dramatic but simply has to do with the time spent at school and the access to extra-curricular activities and teachers who are on hand to chat to students.

Read his full piece here