Greg Hurst covers the Sutton Trust and the Social Mobility Commission’s Elitist Britain 2019 research in an article for the Times.

Whitehall’s upper echelons are more dominated by privately educated people than they were five years ago as power in Britain remains in the grip of an unrepresentative elite, analysis shows.

Among permanent secretaries who run the 40 government departments, 59 per cent were educated at independent schools, 4 percentage points higher than in 2014. Similarly, 45 per cent of people who chair the 152 public bodies within Whitehall went to private schools, a rise of 1 percentage point, while 52 per cent of diplomats attended independent schools.

Another area of public life where social mobility is going backwards is the House of Lords, in which 57 per cent of peers attended private schools, a rise of 8 percentage points.

The report studied the backgrounds of the 5,000 people at the top of politics, the civil service, the judiciary and military, business, local government, the media, arts and sport. It found that 39 per cent were educated privately, despite fewer than 7 per cent of the population attending independent schools, while 20 per cent went to grammar schools and 24 per cent studied at Oxbridge.

The authors said that the figures were evidence of a “power gap” between people who dominate the government, professions and business and the rest of society. The study was conducted by the Sutton Trust, an education charity, and the Social Mobility Commission, which monitors inequality.


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