Sally Weale covers the Sutton Trust and Social Mobility Commission’s first joint report, Elitist Britain 2019, in an article for the Guardian.

Members of Britain’s elite, who hold the top jobs in politics, the judiciary, media and business, are five times more likely to have been to private school than the general population, according to research.

A study by the Sutton Trust and the Social Mobility Commission found that a tiny elite of privately educated people, many of whom went to Oxbridge, continue to dominate high-ranking jobs, where 39% had an independent education, compared with 7% of the general population. Critics described the figures as “scandalous” and called for urgent change.

Researchers examined the educational backgrounds of more than 5,000 leading figures across nine broad categories including politicians, tech bosses, stars from the worlds of film, pop and sport, journalists, judges and FTSE 350 chief executives.


The report identifies a “pipeline” from fee-paying schools through Oxbridge and into top jobs – 52% of senior judges took this route compared with 17% of all those examined.

While it found there had been some increase in the diversity of educational backgrounds of those at the top since an equivalent exercise five years ago, change was happening slowly.


Get the story or read the research.