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Gargoyle - A stone gargoyle on a bridge in Cambridge

Elitist Britain

The Sutton Trust and Social Mobility Commission have analysed the educational background of 5,000 people in top jobs and found that top professions in the UK are still dominated by people who have gone through private schools and Oxford and Cambridge universities.

In their analysis, it found these influential people were five times more likely to be privately educated than the average population. The Sutton Trusts’ chairman Sir Peter Lampl warned of an ‘increasingly divided society’.

The study, Elitist Britain, looked at the schools and universities attended by 5,000 high achievers at the top of business, politics, the media, public organisations, creative industries and sport. It concluded that "power rests with a narrow section of the population - the 7% who attend private schools and the 1% who graduate from Oxford and Cambridge".

It might not be a huge surprise that the upper ranks of the judiciary, the diplomatic service, the armed forces and public bodies are held by a disproportionate number of former public-school pupils. But it might raise an eyebrow that today's pop stars are more likely to have gone to private school than university vice-chancellors, 20% compared with 16%. This echoes warnings that the creative industries, once an express train of social mobility, are increasingly becoming populated by the offspring of wealthy, well connected parents.

In terms of the overall "power gap", the report says 39% of people in these elite groups were privately educated, compared with 7% of the population. The battle for the leadership of the Conservative party is between two Oxford graduates, and these figures show that the Oxbridge contingent remains prominent in the areas around politics, the law and opinion-formers in the media. There are 24% of MPs who are from Oxbridge. Among the chairs of select committees, one in three is Oxbridge.

The report warns that social mobility is "worryingly low" and Dame Martina Milburn, who chairs the Social Mobility Commission, questions whether "this small elite" should have "such a big say in running the country".

Read: BBC News – Private schools and Oxbridge ‘take top jobs’.