MEMBERS OF LIZ TRUSS’ NEW CABINET are over nine times more likely to have gone to an independent school than the general population, according to analysis by the Sutton Trust.

The majority – 68 per cent – were educated at fee-paying schools, while 19 per cent went to a comprehensive and 10 per cent attended a grammar school.

This proportion of alumni of independent schools is higher than Boris Johnson’s first cabinet (64 per cent). It is more than twice that of Theresa May’s 2016 cabinet (30 per cent), and more than both Cameron’s 2015 cabinet (50 per cent) and the 2010 coalition cabinet (62 per cent).

The proportion of cabinet ministers educated at comprehensive schools is lower than Johnson’s first cabinet, at 19 per cent compared to Johnson’s 27 per cent. The Prime Minister herself was comprehensively educated, but some of those heading up key departments – including the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Education Secretary – are among those educated at independent schools.

The proportion of independently educated ministers attending Cabinet is less than earlier cabinets under Conservative Prime Ministers, John Major (71 per cent in 1992) and Margaret Thatcher (91 per cent in 1979). Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s cabinets were both 32 per cent privately educated, while 25 per cent of Clement Attlee’s first cabinet had been privately educated.

Of the 31 ministers attending the first meeting of Liz Truss’s new cabinet, 35 per cent went to Oxford or Cambridge universities. This compares with 27 per cent of all Conservative MPs, 18 per cent of Labour MPs and 21 per cent of all MPs. In Liz Truss’s cabinet 29 per cent were educated at other Russell Group universities (excluding Oxbridge). Twenty-six per cent of the new cabinet went through a ‘pipeline’ from fee-paying schools to Oxbridge.

Truss continues the academic dynasty at Number 10 which stretches back to the start of World War Two: except for Gordon Brown, every Prime Minister since 1940 who attended university was educated at Oxford.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “In Liz Truss’s new cabinet, 68 per cent went to private schools – almost 10 times the number in the general population. 

“Truss continues the academic dynasty at No10 that stretches back to the start of World War II: except for Gordon Brown, every Prime Minister since 1940 who went to university went to Oxford. Liz Truss has pitched herself as the ‘education prime minister’, representing a potentially exciting opportunity to improve the school system and opportunities for children and young people across the country. 

“Yet in terms of educational background, the make-up of her cabinet is less representative than that of her predecessor, with over two-thirds from independent schools. Today’s findings underline how unevenly spread opportunities to enter the most prestigious positions continue to be. Making the most of talent, regardless of their background, must be a priority.” 

* Source: The Sutton Trust