How many journalists went to public school?

Published: 30th Jun 2017

In brief

Claim

51% of journalists were public school educated compared to 7% of the total population.

Conclusion

51% of the UK’s ‘top 100’ journalists educated and working in the UK in 2015 attended a private school, according to the Sutton Trust. 7% of pupils in England attend a private school—that’s been the case for at least the last 15 years. Elsewhere in the UK the proportion is lower.

“51% of our journalists were public school educated, compared to 7% of the population at large.”

Kerry-Anne Mendoza, 29 June 2017

51% of leading journalists educated and working in the UK in 2015 were privately educated, according to the social mobility think tank the Sutton Trust. Another 30% went to grammar schools while 19% went to comprehensives. Looking at the same group of people the Trust also found that 54% went to Oxford or Cambridge University.

The Sutton Trust didn’t study all journalists in the UK though. It looked at who it considered were the top 100. It said this selection was “based upon deliberation by experts with professional experience.” The journalists were also selected based on “their perceived influence on the public debate, so are weighted towards the ‘commentariat’ in national newspapers, as well as newspaper editors.”

Across England 7% of school pupils went to an independent school in January 2017, this proportion has been the same for at least the last 15 years.

This proportion isn’t the same across the UK, for example in Wales it is much lower. 2% of pupils there went to independent schools in Jan 2016 (the latest figures available). In Scotland it was 4% in September 2016.

We’ve written more about education types in other professions here.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time. Read the roundup.


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