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

Sir Keir Starmer’s first Cabinet is the most diverse on record in terms of education background, analysis has shown.

The majority of the Prime Minister’s top team – 23 Cabinet ministers, or 92% of the total – attended comprehensive schools, according to research by social mobility charity the Sutton Trust.

Sir Keir said he was proud to have Cabinet ministers who “didn’t have the easiest of starts in life” and reflect the “aspiration” at the heart of Britain when the diverse educational backgrounds of his top team were referenced during a press conference at Downing Street on Saturday.

He told journalists: “I’m really proud of the fact that my Cabinet reflects the aspiration that I believe lies at the heart of our country.

“That aspiration that so many people have, wherever they started from, to make a journey in life for themselves, for their families, their communities, and ultimately for their country.”

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.

Only one member of the new Labour Cabinet, Transport Secretary Louise Haigh, went to an independent school – Sheffield High School.

The Sutton Trust added 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 Sir Keir’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.”

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

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

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