Sutton Trust Cabinet Analysis 2019

Report Overview

The Sutton Trust analysed the educational background of Boris Johnson’s new cabinet, finding that almost two-thirds received a private education.

Key Findings

  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of Boris Johnson’s cabinet received a private education.
  • 27% went to a comprehensive, while 9% attended a grammar school.
  • The proportion who attended an independent school is more than double that in Theresa May’s first cabinet (30%), slightly more than David Cameron’s cabinet in 2015 (50%) and similar to the cabinet of the Coalition government in 2010 (62%)
  • 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.
  • Cabinet ministers are 9 times more likely to have gone to a fee-paying school for all or part of their secondary education than the general population.
  • Of the 33 ministers attending Boris Johnson’s new cabinet, 45% went to Oxford or Cambridge universities. This compares with 31% of all Conservative MPs, 20% of Labour MPs and 24% of all MPs.
  • A further 24% of Johnson’s cabinet were educated at other Russell Group universities (excluding Oxbridge).

Methodology

Information on the education of cabinet members was taken primarily from public sources, such as candidates’ campaign web pages, Who’s Who and local news websites. School category was defined as where the individual spent most of their secondary school years, and university where they completed their first undergraduate degree.

July 26, 2019