Starmer’s Cabinet ‘most diverse on record for education background’

The Prime Minister's top team has the most ministers educated at a state school than any other on record.

Keir Starmer’s Cabinet ‘most diverse on record for education background’ Getty Images

Keir Starmer’s Cabinet contains more MPs who have attended a state school than any other on record, analysis has shown.

Social mobility charity the Sutton Trust said the Prime Minister’s top team was the most diverse on record in terms of education background.

The majority of the new Cabinet – 23 Cabinet ministers or 92% of the total – attended comprehensive schools.

The Prime Minister attended a grammar school which was a state selective grammar when he started, and his place remained state-funded throughout his secondary education even though the school became independent two years into his time there, according to the Sutton Trust.

Transport secretary Louise Haighone is the only member of the new Labour Cabinet to have gone to an independent school, attending Sheffield High School.

The Sutton Trust said that although defence secretary John Healey and Northern Ireland secretary Hilary Benn spent time in private education, most of their schooling between the ages of 11 and 16 was in comprehensive schools.

The proportion of Starmer’s Cabinet educated at comprehensive schools is significantly higher than the cabinets of former prime ministers Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, both at 19%, according to the charity.

Nick Harrison, chief executive of the Sutton Trust, said: “This Cabinet is the most diverse in terms of education background ever recorded.

“It represents real progress towards smashing the class ceiling in politics, and it’s the closest to genuinely reflecting the proportion of Brits who went to comprehensive schools.

“But we now need to see this Cabinet deliver policies that will help tackle the barriers that are stopping many young people getting on in life.

“The Government should seize the chance to advance social mobility and bring about a revolution in opportunity for future generations.

“There will be difficult choices ahead in this challenging economic environment, but delivering tangible change in widening opportunity will be vital to supporting social cohesion and long-term economic growth.”

Of the 25 ministers in the Labour Cabinet, 40% attended Oxford or Cambridge for university.

Starmer continues the tradition of nearly every UK prime minister since the Second World War having studied at Oxford University, which he attended for a postgraduate degree.

The one exception is Gordon Brown who went to Edinburgh University.

The Sutton Trust’s analysis also shows a shift in the number of MPs who attended a private school. Some 63% of MPs in 2024 were educated at a state school. 23% attended an independence school, down from 29% in 2019.

Around 6% of kids attend a private school across the UK.

“The proportion of all MPs educated at comprehensives has also increased markedly, making this parliament the most representative of the UK’s schooling ever recorded”, Harrison said.

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