We’ve analysed the education backgrounds of Rishi Sunak’s first cabinet. The majority were privately educated, with 61% attending an independent school.
The proportion of the new cabinet who were privately educated.
The proportion who attended Oxbridge.
The proportion of cabinet ministers who went to both an independent school and Oxbridge.
- 61% of the cabinet were educated at fee-paying schools, while 23% went to a comprehensive and 13% attended a grammar school. They are nearly nine times more likely to have gone to an independent school than the general population (roughly 7%).
- This proportion of alumni of independent schools is lower than Liz Truss’s cabinet (61% versus 68%), but similar to Boris Johnson’s first cabinet (64%). It is more than twice that of Theresa May’s 2016 cabinet (30%), and more than Cameron’s 2015 cabinet (50%).
- The proportion of cabinet ministers educated at comprehensive schools is similar to Liz Truss’s cabinet at 23% vs Truss’s 19%, but lower than Boris Johnson’s first cabinet (27%). A number of those heading up key departments – including the Chancellor, the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary – are educated at independent schools.
- The proportion of independently educated ministers attending cabinet is less than earlier cabinets under Conservative Prime Ministers, John Major (71% in 1992) and Margaret Thatcher (91% in 1979). Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both had 32% of those attending cabinet privately educated, while 25% of Clement Attlee’s first cabinet had been privately educated.
- Of the 31 ministers attending Sunak’s new cabinet, nearly half (45%) went to Oxford or Cambridge. This compares with 27% of all Conservative MPs, 18% of Labour MPs and 21% of all MPs.
- 32% of the new cabinet went from fee-paying schools to Oxbridge.