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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)

happygardening Wed 21-Nov-12 08:36:23

"NOOO! this is because if you go to those public schools, you are on a track that will recruit you, no matter how good you are, into top positions! Its not that private schools turn out top people at all!'
its so much more complicated than that. A good friend very senior in a MNC wants works experience for his DS he has a friend very senior in the sector his DS is interested in. Rings him gets the work experience then he wants an holiday job ditto then DS goes of to uni and said company offers him a job but very poor wages for London friend then tops up poor wages gives DS one of his 8 central London houses to live in and so the cycle continues. No schools mentioned. Its all about who you know and the highly successful mix with the highly successful.

cory Wed 21-Nov-12 11:31:14

What Squiffy and Talkin said. Unreliable statistics.

Whether you get your birthday/obituary in the Times or not depends on whether the journalist/editor knows about you or thinks you are important. Which may well be related in some way to whether you were at school with his uncle. It is not necessarily a measure of your real importance or influence or even wealth.

LettyAshton Wed 21-Nov-12 13:05:40

Sadly, happygardening, you are right. Just discovering this with ds who has to organise some work experience. He is (mostly!) a personable, intelligent lad but no one will touch him with a bargepole. I grind my teeth when I hear of dcs who've landed impressive positions through their parents' contacts. Twas always thus, I suppose.

The London factor is also difficult to overcome, especially now. If your parents/aunt/great uncle has a London pad then you can afford to do internships or badly paid entry-level jobs as you have no accommodation worries.

Look at Euan Blair, who is now, apparently, intending to become an MP. He's had such a struggle, hasn't he?

Elibean Wed 21-Nov-12 14:08:59

My first thought was 'define 'top'', I have to admit...

My second thought, on skimming the thread (and list of schools) is that the title should have read 'top men' - hardly any girls' schools listed hmmhmm

Annelongditton Wed 21-Nov-12 14:31:37

We have looked at lots of schools for DCs, and listening to these schools boast about how many prime ministers etc their school has produced you do start to realise that Winston Churchill became prime minister because he was a Churchill, not because of what school he went to. He happened to go to Harrow, but even if he had gone to St Chavs in Oxford he would still have become prime minister.

The other thing that struck me is how many pupils at these schools (not the top super-selectives, but you don't have to go far down) are funded by the govt for various state emplyees. Discounts available at some schools for certain professions reads like a list of "suitable occupations for the younger son of an Earl" from Jane Austen's era - church, army, civil service. And by church obviously only CofE, what happened to being a multi-cultural society?

I actually find it all quite depressing, we really haven't progressed anywhere near as far as we think we have, the Sutton Trust figures don't surprise me at all, and from what I've seen I don't think they'll look any different 20 years from now.

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 14:38:00

There are a huge nmber of types of people who look after their own in the UK, don't worry. Lots of Indians and Pakistanis have done tremendously well and Ugandan Asians. There are Jewish companies and banks who help other jews. I don't think WASPs have it all their own way.

What we could do more with is women like I am in net works for other women. that is coming - women mentoring and helping other women and telling them yes youc an earn £1k as a woman and have a large family and yet it's huge fun and it's whether you're posh,white black fat or thin or atheist or anything else as long as you work very hard and are very good at what you do.

happygardening Wed 21-Nov-12 14:40:17

They wont look any different because whilst the average man in he street is struggling the super rich are on the up and getting stronger and stronger. They have money power and influence and yes there of course their children go to these schools but that's coincidental. Read: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

joanbyers Wed 21-Nov-12 14:47:15

Anne, there are Catholic private schools, but obviously not too many children of Catholic priests....

I think it's very hard to make money unless you have money. It gives you the confidence/arrogance to tell people where to stick their low-paid jobs and hold out for the good ones. Can't afford to do that if you are struggling to make ends meet.

LettyAshton Wed 21-Nov-12 15:00:16

Hmmm, yes, I read that all those of us who say "My parents came from nowt but had a grammar school education and then so did I and now dh and I are blah de blah..." will be the ones heading down the scale in the future because the middle classes don't have the inherited wealth to fall back on nor are they making super rich type of money. Some may be lucky enough to inherit by dint of rising value of property, but note bene: nursing home costs will wipe out a lot of that (mil's home is £40K a year) and with longevity things can only get worse.

happygardening Wed 21-Nov-12 15:04:46

Letty you really do need to read: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else. These people aren't inheriting it they're making it loop holes and changes to their advantage in the law in many countries is allowing this to happen. They are literally laughing all the way to the bank (which they own) fortunately Romney didn't get in becasue it could have been even worse.

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 15:37:43

Ampleforth from memory is on the list and not sure about Stonyhurst but both Catholic private boarding schools.

LettA raises an intereseting issue - has there been a shooting ahead of not just a mildly rich category worth £2m say but the super super rich £100m lot shooting righ ahead of the others. I think that was always so. Rothschild L'Oreal etc etc. Sometimes the last generation does fine or some of them and sometimes they are non working wasters. Sometimes they lose all the family wealth as some UK aristocrats managed and sometimes not. You have laways had new wealth coming in - UK Victorian industrialists for example.

Dsoes it matter if some people have more money than others anyway if money does not make you happy? I quite like the game of trying to earn a lot and I hope 50 - 60 now children are going will give me a lot more time to play the game better and have fun at other things but it is just a game. I am equally happy with a book and having a country walk and being with people whom I love.

Annelongditton Wed 21-Nov-12 16:18:48

I am going to buy the Plutocrats books recommended, but I think it will just make me more cynical. The creation of a few billionaires may have opened the doors to a few more, but it hasn't made things fairer for anyone else.

DH is director of Fund Management company, co-incidentally 4 of his co-directors DCs hit University age this year. Every single one of them got Oxbridge places. Yes, they are all bright, but lots of bright DCs don't get in. Being super cynical I wonder if they are now trying to identify possible DCs of the super rich as they are most likely to contribute to college funds.

orangeberries Wed 21-Nov-12 18:04:20

Not sure about the rich and super-rich argument, there are plenty of these people whose children have zero motivation to achieve, let alone go to Oxbridge.

When we are talking middle classes I think we include such a huge swathe of the population and one can generalise too much. There is a massive difference between a middle class family with a household income of 40k and one middle class family with a household income of say 200k.

Just to say that injustice is not limited to the superrich but filters all the way down.

wordfactory Wed 21-Nov-12 19:47:22

orange I think much of the middle class is incredibly complacent about their DC's place in the world.

Theys eem to think that by dint of simply being middle class (a degree from Oxbridge doncha know) their children's place is secured.

But as you say, there is a huge difference between those at the bottom of the middle class and those at the top. Much of the middle class have far more common with the working class (in terms of their DC's future prospects) than they are willing to accept. But they are too deluded or proud or foolish to admit it.

wordfactory Wed 21-Nov-12 19:49:33

anne I simpl can't believe that the tutors at Oxbridge are that cynical.

But I do think that the bright DC of the rich are far more likely to be properly prepared for the whole entrance shebang.

TalkinPeace2 Wed 21-Nov-12 19:56:28

I can.
Why do you think the LSE was willing to make Said Gadaffi a research fellow. Not for his intellect that's for sure.
If Mummy and Daddy will build a new wing, their darling son will get in.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 20:06:36

Much of the middle class couldn't afford private school fees if they wanted to anyway. I doubt any of them consider their children's place anywhere is assured, some of them perhaps just look at their children doing fine and being taught well and don't feel they ought to be angst-ing about the fact that those children aren't at private school.

wordfactory Wed 21-Nov-12 20:17:32

Nit it's not just about school fees, it's the general arrogance and complacancy.

I notice it as a working class arriviste and many of my immigrant freinds notice it too.

It's not about angst, it's about understanding how things currently work and acting upon them.

But your reaction to describe that in pejorative terms is telling grin.

bigTillyMint Wed 21-Nov-12 20:23:23

*Elibean - My first thought was 'define 'top'', I have to admit...

My second thought, on skimming the thread (and list of schools) is that the title should have read 'top men' - hardly any girls' schools listed*

My thoughts exactly!

Xenia Wed 21-Nov-12 20:24:04

Gadaffi is quite rare and that's a foreign student and I think it was a PhD.

Take Prince Harry - he didn't go to university, quite rightly. I am not sure any kind of preference would have got him a place anywhere decent.

I think some parental support when graduates are trying to get jobs gives some advantage to some graduates although anyone who can only get unpaid internships for years and years if probably better off seeking a different career than the one they are after. No one really wants someone who is useless long term. However if you are one of identical very well qualified graduates (there are heaps of them) then getting your foot in the door helps but you can also get it by writing a cheeky letter to the boss who came from the same council estate or thinking laterally - a man stood with a I want a job sign near Liverpool St and got 11 offers of interviews at financial services companies the other week.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 20:42:27

But if I think my children are being taught well, word, and that it's all good, and they're turning out fine, that's surely not arrogance? (which is also, of course, a very perjorative term). What form should my 'understanding how things work and acting upon them' actually take?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 20:45:42

I really don't understand this stuff about arrogance and complacency. I don't take for granted that my girls will get into the universities they want any more than I take for granted they'll get out the other side of adolescence without an eating disorder, self harming, heart break or anything else. I hope and trust it will be so, and I believe the support from their school and parents will go a certain way, but I most certainly don't take a thing for granted, and I resent the suggestion that middle class people (if I am one, I'm not sure how MN would see that) with children in state school who are fine with that, are somehow arrogant and complacent!

themottledlizard Wed 21-Nov-12 21:24:59

'Take Prince Harry - he didn't go to university, quite rightly. I am not sure any kind of preference would have got him a place anywhere decent' HAHAHA

He managed to get into Eton where, it has been stated on another thread, one has to be spectacularly bright to gain a place....

rabbitstew Wed 21-Nov-12 22:29:11

What did Prince Harry need to go to university for?!!! Why bother?...

No complacency or arrogance here, although I secretly hope my children don't end up leading lives where they compromise all their principles for a profit, or work such long hours that they don't have time to think about whether they enjoy their lives, as I'm not sure whether a world in which you either have a life like that or live in poverty is worth living in.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Wed 21-Nov-12 22:35:13

I do want to hear about this 'general arrogance and complacency'. Is it the same as thinking you're trying your best with your children and you think they're being taught well?

Please don't think I'm so secure in my sense of being middle class that I think life will automatically be rosy for my daughters: I certainly don't.

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