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71% of 'top people' went to private school, or grammar school

(282 Posts)
joanbyers Tue 20-Nov-12 13:27:14


"Ten leading independent schools accounted for 12% of the leading people for which schools data was available. These are: Eton College; Winchester College; Charterhouse School; Rugby School; Westminster School; Marlborough College; Dulwich College; Harrow School; St Paul’s Boys’ School; Wellington College (see table 1 for top 100 schools). "

It's interesting that these leading schools are pretty much ALL boarding schools, the significance of which is that the fees tend to be around £30k/year (so I reckon this is as much about parental connections as anything else)

Wellington does not have a glittering academic reputation, sending handfuls to Oxford. Charterhouse, on £32k/year, has a fraction of the Oxbridge admissions of the nearby Royal Grammar School, Guildford (fees only £13k/year) - which is present in the list, at #58, but behind schools for the rich but dim such as Bradfield

The leading independent schools that aren't exclusively boarding schools (and therefore implying super-rich parents) are all in London, which is home of the elite.

The leading comps are Holland Park School, where lefties send their kids for ideological reasons and which has had £10s of millions lavished on it, and Haverstock School, which is likewise a popular choice with the left-wing elite.

Just 10% of 'top people' attended a comprehensive.

Of course these figures are calculated many years in arrears, so not the best guide for the future, but the 44% of leading people who attended private schools I guess will increase, as the 27% who went to grammars die off (i.e. most of the grammar schools listed are now comps)

peasabovesticks Tue 20-Nov-12 15:12:26

I don't think that's true Boulevard A lot of the really top people are in London, but not all, by any means. There are lots of lower rank people in London and plenty of high earners and achievers in the provinces...

Yeah, but we're talking general trends here, so I'm just painting a rough picture. Broad strokes and all.

Just been Wikipedia'ing the process for choosing QCs, and it seems to have got more egalitarian than it used to be 15-20 years ago, so again, maybe law is another field that will be less indie-dominated in future.

Iggly Tue 20-Nov-12 15:55:54

It's an old boys network on a grand scale. Promote/employ people from schools/universities you know. It's probably not even a conscious thing.

peasabovesticks Tue 20-Nov-12 16:01:47

That's a fair point Boulevard but I get twitchy about Londoncentric attitudes on here>

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 16:35:04

One reason the girls' schools which are pretty high up are not right at the top is as soon as many women were about to achieve anything they decide they'd rather be at home and dust as they married sexist men who expect them to be home ironing shirts.

legallady Tue 20-Nov-12 16:57:51

Someone upthread (can't find it now) commented that the report was based on past data and was not a predictor of the future. Hopefully this is true. However, looking at the big old London law firm that I work in, things really haven't changed. I know for a fact that every partner in my department was privately educated - and that's all of them - and several of them at "top" public schools. I would love to think that things were changing, but looking at the trainees coming through the system, the state educated ones are very much the exception to the rule.

I take a particular interest in this as I was state educated myself and throughout my career (interrupted by children and dusting wink) I have been shocked at how few of us I have come across!

NigellasGuest Tue 20-Nov-12 17:03:59

who are these "top people"?
lawyers, bankers, etc?
Don't want my DCs to become that, particularly!

CecilyP Tue 20-Nov-12 17:11:43

And not everyone who went to a 'top school' becomes one of the 'top people'. I have a friend who went to Harrow and he hasn't really achieved much in life. I doubt if the old boys network helps much either if you dont already mix in those circles which he certainly didn't.

Actually the choice of 'top people' included in the list seems pretty random.

dinkybinky Tue 20-Nov-12 17:12:32

The article has more to do with the “old tie” network than anything else.

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:20:19

Yes, privately educated article writers produce propaganda to encourage desperate parents to sustain the alma mater of said article writer and friends, by frightening them into thinking comprehensive schools aren't getting people into top jobs because they are rubbish rather than because people recruiting to the top jobs (from same schools as article writers...) think said schools are rubbish. It's an excellent way of perpetuating a ridiculous system. I wonder how many state educated children got into the top jobs when... ooh, now, let's think... most children weren't educated beyond the age of 12... which was not actually that long ago...

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:24:15

Could it possibly be that the situation now is actually far better than it was not all that long ago?

And does the article actually investigate whether the loss of most grammar schools has resulted in a drop off of state educated people heading for the top, or just a drop off in grammar school educated people heading for the top? Or does it just witter on about people educated donkeys years ago who should have retired before they got senile, but didn't? grin

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 17:27:10

It's bound not to be very accurate. If a huge number of some of the brightest children in an area are educated at one school rather than one per comp over a vast area the children in the selective school will do very well by numbers.

The study also found 20% of the top people did not go to university so equally headlines could have been leave school at 16 and you can be a leader in Britain.

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:34:40

And is it not hugely unimaginative to think that people are either going off to be world leaders or are working in call centres, Xenia? Because you do seem to imply that you think too many people in state schools are being encouraged to do the latter (as though schools really are pushing this as an excellent career choice hmm), when the self same people could have been encouraged to be hospital consultants. Are there not an absolutely colossal range of possible career choices between cleaner and High Court Judge/Prime Minister???? Are private schools making the career options of their students too blinkered? Wouldn't a supposedly superior education be useful in a wider range of fields??? Couldn't it be said that private schools are spectacularly failing the country, if they really are producing people of a higher calibre but then shoe horning them into a tiny range of careers? Are they not power seeking more than is good for the country?

dinkybinky Tue 20-Nov-12 17:38:28

It could be free advertising for boarding schools as they list practically every boarding school in the country, good and bad!

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:50:54

Oooh. Let's all send our children to boarding school - clearly being away from your parents as much as possible is good for your future leadership potential.

rabbitstew Tue 20-Nov-12 17:53:51

I bet English public schools have produced more murderous African dictators than English comprehensives have.

Xenia Tue 20-Nov-12 17:57:57

Well yes I was thinking of that Eton man who I think did some takeover in Guinea and was released from prison about a year ago.

I think people from private schools do pursue a range of careers. I remember seeing a photo with careers of Prince Harry's year or Cameron's at school and there was variety from artists to journalists to more conventional careers in the City.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:05:29

Certainly being from the provincial cities (I.e not London) Ime the school tie gets you nowhere and you may not earn as much but you don't need to. I think this will change in the future as more educated parents sent their kids to comps. Don't forget the generation they are looking had had less well educated parents and therefore school was more important. Less so now. More dependent upon parents backgrounds who generally choose a comp over a backwater private although the stronghold of Sony top indies unlikely to be broken until they become full of foreign students who will pay more and then go back home to take positions of power in their home countries.

Asinine Tue 20-Nov-12 18:14:00

I detest the expression "he's worth £squillions"

No, he earns £squillions.

Top of what? If you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:14:04

Most of the professionals I deal with take great pains to get their kids into the top streams of good comps. Certainly that seems to be the trend here. They still aspire for the kids but loathe to give them it on a plate.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:15:13

Having said that they still tutor when required so still buying advantage.

MordionAgenos Tue 20-Nov-12 18:17:06

I read the full double page spread in the paper. Martin O'Neil is one of these 'top people'. As is Ray Winstone. So there you have it.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:20:36

It is quite common for family businesses to struggle when the grandson takes over. Grandfather starts from nothing, father works hard but comes from little more as wealth taken up in business but reaps the benefit as grand child born into life of privilege and then completely wrecks business because they never had to strive. It just makes me wonder whether we are now in the father generation and have worked hard to continue building wealth but then could make it too easy for our kids. Sorry poor analogy but well-known in business terms and therefore future leaders may come from somewhere else entirely.

losingtrust Tue 20-Nov-12 18:28:42

But of course who wrecked the economy - over privileged bankers and politicians - the grandchildren and therefore the next leaders will have to be the working class strivers although that may be over optimistic but certainly comp kids. The milibands are already playing on that card for the same anti-public school backlash to grow. It is happening outside London and public school kids are toning down their accents.

dinkybinky Tue 20-Nov-12 18:34:44

I agree Losing trust, the first generation make the money and the second generation spend it !!

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