New LSE research says alumni from Britain’s top public schools 94 times more likely to reach the most powerful positions – HMC Chair’s statement

30 October 2017
Posted by HMC Press Office

LSE research states that the alumni of the nine Clarendon schools within HMC have been 94 times more likely to become leaders in British society than those who attended any other school based on their historical analysis of Who’s Who (see summary from LSE here). Researchers studied various birth cohorts between 1830 and 1969 and found pupils from other HMC schools were 35 times more likely to achieve such positions.

The joint lead authors of the paper, Dr Aaron Reeves of the International Inequalities Institute at LSE and Dr Sam Friedman of the Department of Sociology at LSE, commented:  “Although the Clarendon schools have not always been the best performing schools in the country they have consistently remained the most successful in propelling their alumni into elite positions.

“Clearly their power lies beyond simple academic excellence and may be rooted in an extensive extra-curricular education that endows old boys with a particular way of being in the world that signals elite male status to others. While the democratisation of education clearly dented the influence of these elite schools, their power remains a testament to how far adrift Britain lies from true equality of opportunity.”


Chris King, Chair of HMC and Head of Leicester Grammar said:

“This research shows the consistent quality of these schools through times of change in society and government policy.  It is wrong and illogical suggest the richness of their extra-curricular provision ‘signals’ male status; in fact it is the essence of a rounded education and helps develop resilience, team work and appreciation of others’ points of view.

“Two of these schools are now co-educational; further reason why this research does not serve as a guide to modern-day realities.

“Independent schools are increasingly sharing their teachers, facilities, drama, sport and events with state schools. So, rather than criticise excellence, let us find new ways to work together to help all pupils reach their potential.”