We’ve analysed the education backgrounds of Sir Keir Starmer’s first Cabinet. The majority attended comprehensive schools, making this the most diverse in terms of education background ever recorded:

Key findings

  • 92% (23 Cabinet ministers) were educated at comprehensive schools, while only 4% (1) went to an independent school and 4% (1) attended a grammar school.
  • The proportion of Cabinet ministers educated at comprehensive schools is drastically higher than those of Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss (both 19%).
  • Although the Prime Minister attended a grammar school*, the Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary were all educated at comprehensive schools.
  • Only 1 member of the Cabinet was privately educated for most of their secondary education between the ages of 11-16.
  • Of the 25 Cabinet ministers, 40%** went to Oxford or Cambridge.

Percentage (%) of UK Cabinet privately educated over time

Commenting, Nick Harrison, Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust, said:

“This Cabinet is the most diverse in terms of education background ever recorded. It represents real progress towards smashing the class ceiling in politics, and it’s the closest to genuinely reflect the proportion of Brits who went to comprehensive schools. But we now need to see this Cabinet deliver policies that will help tackle the barriers that are stopping many young people getting on in life.

“The Government should seize the chance to advance social mobility and bring about a revolution in opportunity for future generations. There will be difficult choices ahead in this challenging economic environment, but delivering tangible change in widening opportunity will be vital to supporting social cohesion and long-term economic growth.”

Read our full breakdown of the education backgrounds of the cabinet.

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Notes to editors:

  • *Sir Keir Starmer’s school was state selective grammar when he started there, and while his place remained state funded throughout his secondary education, the school went on to become independent two years into his time there. He and his year group would not have paid fees.
  • ** Sir Keir Starmer attended Leeds University for his undergraduate degree and Oxford University for his postgraduate degree.
  • Although both Defence Secretary John Healey and Northern Ireland Secretary Hilary Benn have spent some time in private education, most of their education between the ages of 11-16 wasin fact been spent in comprehensive schools.

These figures were updated on the 17th of July after the full cabinet had been announced, the full update can be found here.

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