Far more new MPs went to comprehensive schools than those re-elected

Newly elected MPs were far more likely to have attended a comprehensive school than those that were re-elected, new research has shown.

Research by the Sutton Trust showed that almost two thirds (64 per cent) of the new intake following Thursday’s General Election went through the comprehensive system, compared to 44 per cent of those who were re-elected.

But the proportion of newly elected MPs who attended independent schools stood at 28 per cent, which was only six per cent less than the figure for re-elected MPs.

Meanwhile, 48 per cent of Conservative MPs were found to have been privately educated, compared to 14 per cent of Liberal Democrats, around 5 per cent of SNP MPs, and 17 per cent of Labour MPs.

Dr Lee Elliot Major, chief executive of the Sutton Trust which was founded in 1997 to improve social mobility through education, said more still needed to be done to encourage people from state schools to pursue a career in top-level politics.

“If parliament is truly to represent the whole nation, the best people should be able to become MPs, regardless of social background,” he said.

“ Today’s figures remind us how important it is that we do more to increase levels of social mobility and make sure that bright young people from low and middle income backgrounds [with parents who could not afford to send them to independent schools] have access.”

Almost a third (32%) of MPs in the new House of Commons went to fee-paying schools, according to the research, which is far higher than the figure (7 per cent) for the general population.

Out of those MPs who were privately educated, almost one in ten went to Eton.

A record number of female MPs (191) were elected on Thursday and only a quarter of them were privately educated, compared with 35 per cent of their male colleagues.

The research was based on data compiled by the Sutton Trust and public affairs consultant Tim Carr from public sources, requests to candidates in marginal constituencies and those in seats where the previous MP was not standing again.

 

Table 1: Percentage breakdown of school backgrounds of MPs elected following the general election (educated in the UK)

Independent Comprehensive State Selective
ALL MPs 32 49 19
Conservative 48 34 18
Labour 17 64 19
Lib Dem 14 57 29
SNP 5 90 5
OTHER 24 29 48

 

 

Table 2: Percentage breakdown of school education of MPs by gender and entry to the House of Commons

Independent Comprehensive State Selective
Male 35 45 20
Female 26 58 16
New in 2015 28 64 8
Existing MP 34 44 22