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politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » 65 years of Tory Prime Ministers – their educational backgroun

SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited July 30 in General
imagepoliticalbetting.com » Blog Archive » 65 years of Tory Prime Ministers – their educational backgrounds

One of my little obsessions over the years has been the very narrow base from which political leaders come from in the UK. The table above shows the educational backgrounds of every Tory PM since Churchill stood aside in 1955 and as can be seen all but one of them went to Oxford – the exception being John Major who did not go to university.

Read the full story here

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Comments

  • edited July 30
    I'm a light blue and first this time
  • BluestBlueBluestBlue Posts: 2,069
    I fear matters are even worse than that - one can't even become the editor of a politics blog these days without having been a Fellow of Magdalen :wink:

    And if Oxford beats Cambridge to a vaccine, we won't even need the Light Blues for their sciencey stuff any more...
  • nichomarnichomar Posts: 5,809
    edited July 30
    No wonder things are like they are, time to shut these institutions down and start again without all the privileged bullshit, preferably on the banks of the Mersey or Tyne.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    Am I right in thinking he last PM to be educated at Cambridge was Baldwin in 1937?

    And the only PMs to be educated to degree level who didn’t go to one or the other are Gordon Brown (Edinburgh) Churchill (Sandhurst) and Neville Chamberlain (Mason College)?

    If so, then the whole problem is the narrowness of all political leaders’ experience.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103

    I fear matters are even worse than that - one can't even become the editor of a politics blog these days without having been a Fellow of Magdalen :wink:

    And if Oxford beats Cambridge to a vaccine, we won't even need the Light Blues for their sciencey stuff any more...

    This isn’t the Boat Race. There need be no row about this, or any scullduggery.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    edited July 30
    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully "Boris" Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.
  • BluestBlueBluestBlue Posts: 2,069
    ydoethur said:

    I fear matters are even worse than that - one can't even become the editor of a politics blog these days without having been a Fellow of Magdalen :wink:

    And if Oxford beats Cambridge to a vaccine, we won't even need the Light Blues for their sciencey stuff any more...

    This isn’t the Boat Race. There need be no row about this, or any scullduggery.
    Well, that's Putney in my place...
  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,083
    edited July 30
    Small correction - Major became PM in November 1990, not 1999.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    edited July 30

    ydoethur said:

    I fear matters are even worse than that - one can't even become the editor of a politics blog these days without having been a Fellow of Magdalen :wink:

    And if Oxford beats Cambridge to a vaccine, we won't even need the Light Blues for their sciencey stuff any more...

    This isn’t the Boat Race. There need be no row about this, or any scullduggery.
    Well, that's Putney in my place...
    No need to get into a big Barnesy about it.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    kinabalu said:

    ydoethur said:

    I fear matters are even worse than that - one can't even become the editor of a politics blog these days without having been a Fellow of Magdalen :wink:

    And if Oxford beats Cambridge to a vaccine, we won't even need the Light Blues for their sciencey stuff any more...

    This isn’t the Boat Race. There need be no row about this, or any scullduggery.
    Well, that's Putney in my place...
    No need to get into a big barnesy about it.
    Get in the Kew.
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 1,825
    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 16,902
    ydoethur said:

    I fear matters are even worse than that - one can't even become the editor of a politics blog these days without having been a Fellow of Magdalen :wink:

    And if Oxford beats Cambridge to a vaccine, we won't even need the Light Blues for their sciencey stuff any more...

    This isn’t the Boat Race. There need be no row about this, or any scullduggery.
    Oar Cambridge could have a stroke of luck.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546
    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 3,750
    Susan Rice, second favourite in the Dem VP nominee betting, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. You can get 300s against Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island, who was another.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546
    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Yes, May's became a comp whilst she was there but she passed the 11+ to get into it, so she doesn't count. Starmer too passed the 11+ to get into his grammar, so it looks like we'll be waiting some time for a Labour PM who went to a comp.
  • MikeSmithsonMikeSmithson Posts: 6,205
    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 3,750
    edited July 30
    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Stanley Baldwin and Winston Churchill went to Harrow School. Baldwin once joked that he wanted half a dozen Harrovians in his Cabinet to balance out the Etonians.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546
    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546
    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.
    Bring back the grammars then.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
  • eekeek Posts: 8,645
    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    It sounds like a decent comprehensive to me - I don't know of any comprehensive that wouldn't have (at the very least) streamed maths and english lessons. Especially in maths where the A-C grade paper was entirely different to the C-G grade paper.
  • peter_from_putneypeter_from_putney Posts: 6,719
    edited July 30
    "And EVERY LAB winner of a general election majority winner went to Oxford"
    So that would be BOTH then over the past 65 years!
  • nichomarnichomar Posts: 5,809
    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    It’s all one big (almost) boys club, self selecting each other with no better qualification than having gone to the right school and university, it’s not as if they actually study anything useful whilst at university or do anything useful when they leave.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    eek said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    It sounds like a decent comprehensive to me - I don't know of any comprehensive that wouldn't have (at the very least) streamed maths and english lessons. Especially in maths where the A-C grade paper was entirely different to the C-G grade paper.
    I went to a comp and we had streaming. What defines a comp is intake by catchment area rather than interview and exam.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    I wasn’t on a fast stream, but I was definitely at a comprehensive on top sets for all subjects except Maths (set 2). It probably replicated, in lessons at least, the atmosphere of a decent grammar school. At least one of my contemporaries rejected a place at a grammar school in Gloucester for that reason (because it was a shite grammar).

    Outside lessons, on the other hand...
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 3,750
    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Not just the school and university but the course. The number of Oxford PPE graduates in politics, the civil service and the media ought to give one pause.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546
    eek said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    It sounds like a decent comprehensive to me - I don't know of any comprehensive that wouldn't have (at the very least) streamed maths and english lessons. Especially in maths where the A-C grade paper was entirely different to the C-G grade paper.
    According to Wiki Brown went to the High School two years early, which I'm not aware of comps doing. Brown apparently didn't like the hothouse "experiment".
  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,083
    edited July 30
    An interesting table, but I think the really interesting questions about Oxford's dominance are, why and does it matter?

    On why, does Oxford take good students and form them in some way so that some of them become particularly ambitious for, and suited to, a political career? Or are intelligent 18-year-olds who want a political career most likely to choose Oxford? Or does having "Oxford" on your CV give you a particular advantage in UK politics?

    My instinct, and I have some relevant experience, is that if Oxford does form students in this way, it does so unconsciously. I would guess that the second explanation is more important. It's probably not a total explanation, though, and there may be elements of the third.

    As to whether it matters or not, as ever in social sciences, we can't tell defintively, as we don't have a control experiment - we don't know how the UK would have faired under different leadership. There may be some advantage to having a political class whose members have a similar background and common assumptions, and many of whom know each other. But it can be incestuous and lead to groupthink.

    It can also breed feelings of exclusion in everybody else. The people most likely to have problems with magic circles are those who are not in them. Once they are, their feelings about them usually change - especially if they are ambitious politicians.

    There is no evidence, despite decades of hypocritical propaganda from the Labour Party, that the electorate as a whole gives a damn where its politicians went to school and university. They are, sensibly, much more concerned about how well they think they will govern. At any rate, it is noticeable that the only one of those leaders to have led the Conserative Party to complete electoral disaster was the big exception in the table above.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 34,832
    More cox than usual on pb today.....
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103

    "And EVERY LAB winner of a general election majority winner went to Oxford"
    So that would be BOTH then over the past 65 years!

    How many Labour leaders elected in the last 50 years have either won a majority OR won a nationwide share of the vote above 40%?

    (And by 2024 that question can be sixty years.)
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546
    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
  • nichomarnichomar Posts: 5,809
    kinabalu said:

    eek said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    It sounds like a decent comprehensive to me - I don't know of any comprehensive that wouldn't have (at the very least) streamed maths and english lessons. Especially in maths where the A-C grade paper was entirely different to the C-G grade paper.
    I went to a comp and we had streaming. What defines a comp is intake by catchment area rather than interview and exam.
    Also the absence of state selective education options, the moment you introduce a grammar school the comp effectively becomes a secondary modern
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.
    Bring back the grammars then.
    Yes. Non selective grammars for all with no secondary moderns. I'm in.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 23,049
    One piece of behavioural science the government is likely to ignore...
    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jul/30/cummings-saga-damaged-uk-unity-covid-19-study-suggests
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    But how else would the school have been able to function?

    I would have guessed they used the Manchester Grammar model - payment according to means. So Starmer’s parents probably paid fees, but not full fees.

    But that’s a guess.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.
    Bring back the grammars then.
    Yes. Non selective grammars for all with no secondary moderns. I'm in.
    Ironically, that’s how the change was sold to parents in the 1960s. ‘Grammars for all’ was the cry.

    WHick is of course an oxymoron.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546
    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    I wasn’t on a fast stream, but I was definitely at a comprehensive on top sets for all subjects except Maths (set 2). It probably replicated, in lessons at least, the atmosphere of a decent grammar school. At least one of my contemporaries rejected a place at a grammar school in Gloucester for that reason (because it was a shite grammar).

    Outside lessons, on the other hand...
    My comp setted too - there were 38 in my year 11 maths class, which is understandable, when you can bank on those kids getting at least a B grade and you can focus resources on the C-D border.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 34,832

    I'm a light blue and first this time

    Hmmmm. A first-grabbing, politically-orphaned Cambridge alumnus.

    Well, if you're not TSE, you'll do 'til TSE gets here.....
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 23,049

    More cox than usual on pb today.....

    We’re all in the same boat...
  • geoffwgeoffw Posts: 4,000
    Surely you'd send your sprog to Eton with a view to a possible future spell in No 10 in mind. It's their usp.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,198
    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    I wasn’t on a fast stream, but I was definitely at a comprehensive on top sets for all subjects except Maths (set 2). It probably replicated, in lessons at least, the atmosphere of a decent grammar school. At least one of my contemporaries rejected a place at a grammar school in Gloucester for that reason (because it was a shite grammar).

    Outside lessons, on the other hand...
    There's a complaint about, regarding Uni entry this year with teacher-assessed A level grades, that OfQual or whatever it is, is marking down assessments on really bright students who went to schools where previous results were poor, apparently on the grounds that when the teachers get a really good student in such places, their expectations are too high.
    There's at least one case, in Southend, where the parent of such a student is taking legal advice. Although of course, she hasn't had the final assessment yet.
  • eekeek Posts: 8,645
    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    But how else would the school have been able to function?

    I would have guessed they used the Manchester Grammar model - payment according to means. So Starmer’s parents probably paid fees, but not full fees.

    But that’s a guess.
    From memory the state continued to pay for students who were attending on transition.

    But hey why bother doing research when you can add an insult into the equation.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 6,023
    edited July 30
    Fishing said:

    An interesting table, but I think the really interesting questions about Oxford's dominance are, why and does it matter?

    On why, does Oxford take good students and form them in some way so that some of them become particularly ambitious for, and suited to, a political career? Or are intelligent 18-year-olds who want a political career most likely to choose Oxford? Or does having "Oxford" on your CV give you a particular advantage in UK politics?

    My instinct, and I have some relevant experience, is that if Oxford does form students in this way, it does so unconsciously. I would guess that the second explanation is more important. It's probably not a total explanation, though, and there may be elements of the third.

    As to whether it matters or not, as ever in social sciences, we can't tell defintively, as we don't have a control experiment - we don't know how the UK would have faired under different leadership. There may be some advantage to having a political class whose members have a similar background and common assumptions, and many of whom know each other. But it can be incestuous and lead to groupthink.

    It can also breed feelings of exclusion in everybody else. The people most likely to have problems with magic circles are those who are not in them. Once they are, their feelings about them usually change - especially if they are ambitious politicians.

    There is no evidence, despite decades of hypocritical propaganda from the Labour Party, that the electorate as a whole gives a damn where its politicians went to school and university. They are, sensibly, much more concerned about how well they think they will govern. At any rate, it is noticeable that the only one of those leaders to have led the Conserative Party to complete electoral disaster was the big exception in the table above.

    One might also consider the effect of changing from full maintenance grants and fees paid, to the modern system, in terms of access. This would also include decisions made by prospective undergraduates, including whether to even apply at all. I am aware of the emphasis by some Oxford colleges on providing scholarships and bursaries.
  • rkrkrkrkrkrk Posts: 6,190
    Are there younger posters on here who care about grammar schools as a political issue? It feels to me like an old debate whose time has been and gone. Wondering if I'm alone in that.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,198
    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    nichomar said:

    kinabalu said:

    eek said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    It sounds like a decent comprehensive to me - I don't know of any comprehensive that wouldn't have (at the very least) streamed maths and english lessons. Especially in maths where the A-C grade paper was entirely different to the C-G grade paper.
    I went to a comp and we had streaming. What defines a comp is intake by catchment area rather than interview and exam.
    Also the absence of state selective education options, the moment you introduce a grammar school the comp effectively becomes a secondary modern
    Yes. Which is the problem. Streaming within schools - with flexibility through to at least age 15 - is very different to streaming between schools with a momentous pass/fail fork in the road at 11.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 55,331
    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully "Boris" Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Why would he be the last when the public has been shown as perfectly willing to elect Old Etonians? If anything recent performance from Cameron and Boris will make more Old Etonians realise such a destiny, after a long time without one as PM.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
    What's wrong with Leeds University?
  • geoffwgeoffw Posts: 4,000
    What is it that distinguishes grammars from comprehensives? Why it's selection by ability.
    The elephant in the room.
  • MikeSmithsonMikeSmithson Posts: 6,205
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
    What's wrong with Leeds University?
    It is in Yorkshire
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 55,331
    rkrkrk said:

    Are there younger posters on here who care about grammar schools as a political issue? It feels to me like an old debate whose time has been and gone. Wondering if I'm alone in that.

    No, I'm with you. I'm sure it was all terribly important and emotional fir everyone at the time but when it comes up now I just cannot summon the interest. Which makes it fun to watch at least, as politicians play out the greatest hits of times past.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,198
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
    What's wrong with Leeds University?
    Nothing. I was wondering whether he was advised against Oxbridge.
    Although I was advised against Leeds in my subject. However the advisor, who was in a very senior position in the profession I wished to enter, was spectacularly wrong in his forecasts of the overall educational direction of the profession.
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 6,023
    The dominance of Eton in Tory PMs is even greater when one remembers that PMs Thatcher and (possibly, in terms of admitting females to the sixth form at the time?) May were disqualified from Eton anyway by being girls.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    ydoethur said:

    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.
    Bring back the grammars then.
    Yes. Non selective grammars for all with no secondary moderns. I'm in.
    Ironically, that’s how the change was sold to parents in the 1960s. ‘Grammars for all’ was the cry.

    WHick is of course an oxymoron.
    Unfortunately it is. But there are those who are mainly attracted to the name - grammar school - and this constituency we can accommodate. We can call all state schools grammars. I'm very open to that.
  • DecrepiterJohnLDecrepiterJohnL Posts: 3,750
    Fishing said:

    An interesting table, but I think the really interesting questions about Oxford's dominance are, why and does it matter?

    On why, does Oxford take good students and form them in some way so that some of them become particularly ambitious for, and suited to, a political career? Or are intelligent 18-year-olds who want a political career most likely to choose Oxford? Or does having "Oxford" on your CV give you a particular advantage in UK politics?

    My instinct, and I have some relevant experience, is that if Oxford does form students in this way, it does so unconsciously. I would guess that the second explanation is more important. It's probably not a total explanation, though, and there may be elements of the third.

    As to whether it matters or not, as ever in social sciences, we can't tell defintively, as we don't have a control experiment - we don't know how the UK would have faired under different leadership. There may be some advantage to having a political class whose members have a similar background and common assumptions, and many of whom know each other. But it can be incestuous and lead to groupthink.

    It can also breed feelings of exclusion in everybody else. The people most likely to have problems with magic circles are those who are not in them. Once they are, their feelings about them usually change - especially if they are ambitious politicians.

    There is no evidence, despite decades of hypocritical propaganda from the Labour Party, that the electorate as a whole gives a damn where its politicians went to school and university. They are, sensibly, much more concerned about how well they think they will govern. At any rate, it is noticeable that the only one of those leaders to have led the Conserative Party to complete electoral disaster was the big exception in the table above.

    Probably Oxford dominates because that is where you apply, especially to its PPE course, if you are interested in a career in politics. Just as you'd go to Cambridge for a career in comedy (via the Footlights).
  • CarnyxCarnyx Posts: 6,023
    geoffw said:

    What is it that distinguishes grammars from comprehensives? Why it's selection by ability.
    The elephant in the room.

    A particular variety at the very early age of 11. Which is the problem with that particular species of pachyderm.
  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,083

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
    What's wrong with Leeds University?
    It is in Yorkshire
    ... and my brother went there.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,198

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
    What's wrong with Leeds University?
    It is in Yorkshire
    Nowt wrong wi' that.

    Although one would miss the regular opportunity of seeing a decent cricket team in action.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 5,764
    Carnyx said:

    geoffw said:

    What is it that distinguishes grammars from comprehensives? Why it's selection by ability.
    The elephant in the room.

    A particular variety at the very early age of 11. Which is the problem with that particular species of pachyderm.
    Yet when streaming by subject *within* a school is proposed, similar arguments are raised again.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    Carnyx said:

    The dominance of Eton in Tory PMs is even greater when one remembers that PMs Thatcher and (possibly, in terms of admitting females to the sixth form at the time?) May were disqualified from Eton anyway by being girls.

    Stonking point. Thus of the last 7 eligible Tory PMs, FIVE (!) went to Eton. A scandal really when you stop to think about it. How on earth can this be?
  • nichomarnichomar Posts: 5,809
    Definite change of attitude at local hospital today, only allowing patients in, no accompanying relatives, security on doors, oxygen points set up with scrubbers even in day clinic although not being used yet. There are at least four illegals who came in by boat yesterday in here infected with another 74 waiting in a tent to see if they develop symptoms. It’s the worst time of year for a resurgence given how concentrated holiday taking is. Another 15 boatloads of illegals were Escorted into Cartagena yesterday with several infections amongst them, I wonder how many boats are actually getting through without detection? Similar problems in the Canaries.
  • geoffwgeoffw Posts: 4,000
    SandraMc said:

    My husband often laughs at me for watching TV quiz shows but I say they are a useful guide to public perception. At least 3 times I have seen a contestant answer the question: "Name a Post-War British Prime Minister who didn't go to university" with "Harold Wilson". Wilson was one of the most academic Prime Ministers we have had and yet the public perception of him is that he was an ordinary bloke.

    Academics are ordinary blokes too. Well, some of them.

  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,083
    kinabalu said:

    Carnyx said:

    The dominance of Eton in Tory PMs is even greater when one remembers that PMs Thatcher and (possibly, in terms of admitting females to the sixth form at the time?) May were disqualified from Eton anyway by being girls.

    Stonking point. Thus of the last 7 eligible Tory PMs, FIVE (!) went to Eton. A scandal really when you stop to think about it. How on earth can this be?
    Because the public voted for them?
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
    What's wrong with Leeds University?
    Nothing. I was wondering whether he was advised against Oxbridge.
    Although I was advised against Leeds in my subject. However the advisor, who was in a very senior position in the profession I wished to enter, was spectacularly wrong in his forecasts of the overall educational direction of the profession.
    Maybe Starmer applied to Oxbridge and didn't get in - jurisprudence is a pretty competitive field - and it's not something one would advertise so I doubt that would be publicly known if it was the case.

    But it doesn't really matter. It's unsurprising that Oxbridge dominate the top jobs in politics etc. But that's not to say that there aren't very capable people at other universities. And actually there are plenty of very capable people who don't bother with university at all.
  • BluestBlueBluestBlue Posts: 2,069
    edited July 30
    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.

    If you look back through the membership records of Oxford colleges, the only time since 1800 or even earlier when the Clarendon Seven didn't supply a large chunk of the undergraduate population was a relatively brief period in the middle of the last century. Then exotic names such as West Bromwich GS, Maghull GS, and Goole GS became common in the rolls, whilst those of Winchester and Rugby and even Eton waned...

    That must have been just a coincidence though.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 55,331

    Fishing said:

    An interesting table, but I think the really interesting questions about Oxford's dominance are, why and does it matter?

    On why, does Oxford take good students and form them in some way so that some of them become particularly ambitious for, and suited to, a political career? Or are intelligent 18-year-olds who want a political career most likely to choose Oxford? Or does having "Oxford" on your CV give you a particular advantage in UK politics?

    My instinct, and I have some relevant experience, is that if Oxford does form students in this way, it does so unconsciously. I would guess that the second explanation is more important. It's probably not a total explanation, though, and there may be elements of the third.

    As to whether it matters or not, as ever in social sciences, we can't tell defintively, as we don't have a control experiment - we don't know how the UK would have faired under different leadership. There may be some advantage to having a political class whose members have a similar background and common assumptions, and many of whom know each other. But it can be incestuous and lead to groupthink.

    It can also breed feelings of exclusion in everybody else. The people most likely to have problems with magic circles are those who are not in them. Once they are, their feelings about them usually change - especially if they are ambitious politicians.

    There is no evidence, despite decades of hypocritical propaganda from the Labour Party, that the electorate as a whole gives a damn where its politicians went to school and university. They are, sensibly, much more concerned about how well they think they will govern. At any rate, it is noticeable that the only one of those leaders to have led the Conserative Party to complete electoral disaster was the big exception in the table above.

    Probably Oxford dominates because that is where you apply, especially to its PPE course, if you are interested in a career in politics. Just as you'd go to Cambridge for a career in comedy (via the Footlights).
    It is a striking dominance which is hard to explain given surely not all politicians decided at 18 they wanted to get into politics when deciding between Oxford and Cambridge.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 27,168
    edited July 30
    In other exciting news, LibDem Leadership ballots land with members today and tomorrow......
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    eek said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    But how else would the school have been able to function?

    I would have guessed they used the Manchester Grammar model - payment according to means. So Starmer’s parents probably paid fees, but not full fees.

    But that’s a guess.
    From memory the state continued to pay for students who were attending on transition.

    But hey why bother doing research when you can add an insult into the equation.
    Do you have any source for that? Because my understanding of the transition process is somewhat different. However, it is also from the early 1960 so it might not be relevant to Starmer’s experience of the 1970s.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 34,309
    Morning all,

    Feels like grim news on the plague this morning. Ten days isolation, warnings that in two weeks we could have another surge etc etc.

    :-(
  • SandraMcSandraMc Posts: 136
    geoffw said:

    SandraMc said:

    My husband often laughs at me for watching TV quiz shows but I say they are a useful guide to public perception. At least 3 times I have seen a contestant answer the question: "Name a Post-War British Prime Minister who didn't go to university" with "Harold Wilson". Wilson was one of the most academic Prime Ministers we have had and yet the public perception of him is that he was an ordinary bloke.

    Academics are ordinary blokes too. Well, some of them.

    Point taken. But when Wilson went to University, something like 4 per cent of the population went to University so for somebody with a working class background it would be out of the ordinary.
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    kle4 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully "Boris" Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Why would he be the last when the public has been shown as perfectly willing to elect Old Etonians? If anything recent performance from Cameron and Boris will make more Old Etonians realise such a destiny, after a long time without one as PM.
    I fear you are right. The egalitarian spirit is not at this present time in the ascendancy.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 34,309
    edited July 30
    IanB2 said:

    In other exciting news, LibDem Leadership ballots land with members today and tomorrow......

    Still plenty of time for it to be postponed again then!! :smiley:
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    Fishing said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
    What's wrong with Leeds University?
    It is in Yorkshire
    ... and my brother went there.
    And MY brother - my youngest one - is a Prof there.
  • kjhkjh Posts: 1,804
    kinabalu said:

    nichomar said:

    kinabalu said:

    eek said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    It sounds like a decent comprehensive to me - I don't know of any comprehensive that wouldn't have (at the very least) streamed maths and english lessons. Especially in maths where the A-C grade paper was entirely different to the C-G grade paper.
    I went to a comp and we had streaming. What defines a comp is intake by catchment area rather than interview and exam.
    Also the absence of state selective education options, the moment you introduce a grammar school the comp effectively becomes a secondary modern
    Yes. Which is the problem. Streaming within schools - with flexibility through to at least age 15 - is very different to streaming between schools with a momentous pass/fail fork in the road at 11.
    I am so with you on this through personal experience. I failed my 11 plus (although have no memory of taking it. What is more I was streamed in the secondary modern in a class that would be expected to leave without qualifications and in hindsight that was a fair assessment.

    However I blossomed by the 3rd or 4th year. When taking the exams to decide whether you took O levels, CSEs or nothing I came top in the school in all subjects except English (in which I did OK).

    I went on to the local grammar school where I was fast tracked taking A levels early and went on to Manchester to do a degree in Mathematics.

    So what is the problem you may ask. Well because of the split at 11 I had no opportunity to do languages, English Literature, Music, etc, however I did useless stuff for me namely metalwork, woodwork, etc (I am useless at practical stuff). Equally when I went to the Grammar school there were boys there who had no option to do the practical stuff, but could study Russian, German, etc.

    Why oh why split at 11. Stream as you go along.
  • BannedinnParisBannedinnParis Posts: 949

    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.

    If you look back through the membership records of Oxford colleges, the only time since 1800 or even earlier when the Clarendon Seven didn't supply a large chunk of the undergraduate population was a relatively brief period in the middle of the last century. Then exotic names such as West Bromwich GS, Maghull GS, and Goole GS became common in the rolls, whilst those of Winchester and Rugby and even Eton waned...

    That must have been just a coincidence though.
    gosh. whatever happened to these schools?
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    I wasn’t on a fast stream, but I was definitely at a comprehensive on top sets for all subjects except Maths (set 2). It probably replicated, in lessons at least, the atmosphere of a decent grammar school. At least one of my contemporaries rejected a place at a grammar school in Gloucester for that reason (because it was a shite grammar).

    Outside lessons, on the other hand...
    There's a complaint about, regarding Uni entry this year with teacher-assessed A level grades, that OfQual or whatever it is, is marking down assessments on really bright students who went to schools where previous results were poor, apparently on the grounds that when the teachers get a really good student in such places, their expectations are too high.
    There's at least one case, in Southend, where the parent of such a student is taking legal advice. Although of course, she hasn't had the final assessment yet.
    A reference to this story:

    https://www.tes.com/news/ofqual-unhelpful-say-where-grades-most-optimistic

    The real story of course is that OFQUAL are as much use as Dominic Cummings’ conscience. They don’t know what they’re doing and have been flailing and messing up for years.
  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,083
    Something I don't know the answer to - does Eton send many more boys to Oxford than Cambridge? If so, that would imply that the reason for Oxford's dominance is, in part, because of Eton's dominance.

    Another point - the similar educational background at the top of the greasy pole is not really mirrored further down. Conservative MPs are from a more diverse educational background than PMs. And I would guess that Cabinet Minsters are somewhere between the two. If I'm right, that means that the advantages of Eton and Oxford become more pronounced the further up you climb. Is that because the public like their Tories to be from Eton and Oxford, given that media exposure increases as you climb? Or is it because that background helps with self-confidence, networking, backstabbing and all the other relevant skills to a political career? I don't know.
  • kle4kle4 Posts: 55,331
    kinabalu said:

    Carnyx said:

    The dominance of Eton in Tory PMs is even greater when one remembers that PMs Thatcher and (possibly, in terms of admitting females to the sixth form at the time?) May were disqualified from Eton anyway by being girls.

    Stonking point. Thus of the last 7 eligible Tory PMs, FIVE (!) went to Eton. A scandal really when you stop to think about it. How on earth can this be?
    Its striking and worrying but I dont know I'd call it a scandal. Whatever advantages may have helped them rise through the Tories the public always had a chance to say no if a duffer made it through.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 34,309
    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    tlg86 said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    You can argue that TMay went to a comprehensive - her school's status changed while she was there
    Err, no you can't. Unless you want to argue that Starmer went to a private school, which I doubt you want to.
    Did we actually find out whether Starmer started paying fees when Reigate went private?

    Totally useless factoid of today - my grandfather was at Adams Grammar on a scholarship, and my father was briefly at Reigate. So I have familial education links with the current and previous Labour leaders.
    It would have been pretty harsh to start charging parents of kids who had passed 11+. But that's not the point, he'd have still effectively been at a private school getting the benefits of that rather than being at a comp.

    In reality, I suspect May and Starmer received pretty much the education of the grammar that they entered.
    Which is why Starmer went to Leeds?
    What's wrong with Leeds University?
    Nothing. I was wondering whether he was advised against Oxbridge.
    Although I was advised against Leeds in my subject. However the advisor, who was in a very senior position in the profession I wished to enter, was spectacularly wrong in his forecasts of the overall educational direction of the profession.
    Maybe Starmer applied to Oxbridge and didn't get in - jurisprudence is a pretty competitive field - and it's not something one would advertise so I doubt that would be publicly known if it was the case.

    But it doesn't really matter. It's unsurprising that Oxbridge dominate the top jobs in politics etc. But that's not to say that there aren't very capable people at other universities. And actually there are plenty of very capable people who don't bother with university at all.
    Leeds is a titan amongst higher education pygmies.
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 14,675

    Carnyx said:

    geoffw said:

    What is it that distinguishes grammars from comprehensives? Why it's selection by ability.
    The elephant in the room.

    A particular variety at the very early age of 11. Which is the problem with that particular species of pachyderm.
    Yet when streaming by subject *within* a school is proposed, similar arguments are raised again.
    But much less so. There are plenty of people like me who see separation by school as very undesirable but who are fine with streaming as long as it's adjustable as kids evolve. I'd detoxify it further by doing streaming by subject, breaking up age groups - I'd have been two years "ahead" in mathematics, two years "behind" in physical education. Some people think it's essential to have a peer group of your age who you do everything with, but that's too dogmatic - shared ability is more important than coincidence of age.
  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,083

    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.

    If you look back through the membership records of Oxford colleges, the only time since 1800 or even earlier when the Clarendon Seven didn't supply a large chunk of the undergraduate population was a relatively brief period in the middle of the last century. Then exotic names such as West Bromwich GS, Maghull GS, and Goole GS became common in the rolls, whilst those of Winchester and Rugby and even Eton waned...

    That must have been just a coincidence though.
    Point of senseless pedantry - the Clarendon report concerned itself with nine schools, not seven, though the subseqent act left out St Paul's and Merchant Taylor's.
  • IshmaelZIshmaelZ Posts: 2,705
    kle4 said:

    Fishing said:

    An interesting table, but I think the really interesting questions about Oxford's dominance are, why and does it matter?

    On why, does Oxford take good students and form them in some way so that some of them become particularly ambitious for, and suited to, a political career? Or are intelligent 18-year-olds who want a political career most likely to choose Oxford? Or does having "Oxford" on your CV give you a particular advantage in UK politics?

    My instinct, and I have some relevant experience, is that if Oxford does form students in this way, it does so unconsciously. I would guess that the second explanation is more important. It's probably not a total explanation, though, and there may be elements of the third.

    As to whether it matters or not, as ever in social sciences, we can't tell defintively, as we don't have a control experiment - we don't know how the UK would have faired under different leadership. There may be some advantage to having a political class whose members have a similar background and common assumptions, and many of whom know each other. But it can be incestuous and lead to groupthink.

    It can also breed feelings of exclusion in everybody else. The people most likely to have problems with magic circles are those who are not in them. Once they are, their feelings about them usually change - especially if they are ambitious politicians.

    There is no evidence, despite decades of hypocritical propaganda from the Labour Party, that the electorate as a whole gives a damn where its politicians went to school and university. They are, sensibly, much more concerned about how well they think they will govern. At any rate, it is noticeable that the only one of those leaders to have led the Conserative Party to complete electoral disaster was the big exception in the table above.

    Probably Oxford dominates because that is where you apply, especially to its PPE course, if you are interested in a career in politics. Just as you'd go to Cambridge for a career in comedy (via the Footlights).
    It is a striking dominance which is hard to explain given surely not all politicians decided at 18 they wanted to get into politics when deciding between Oxford and Cambridge.
    But the ones who go to Oxford clearly do, because look how many of them devote every second of their time from the moment they get there, to striving to get the presidency of the Union. All of them.
  • geoffwgeoffw Posts: 4,000
    nichomar said:

    Definite change of attitude at local hospital today, only allowing patients in, no accompanying relatives, security on doors, oxygen points set up with scrubbers even in day clinic although not being used yet. There are at least four illegals who came in by boat yesterday in here infected with another 74 waiting in a tent to see if they develop symptoms. It’s the worst time of year for a resurgence given how concentrated holiday taking is. Another 15 boatloads of illegals were Escorted into Cartagena yesterday with several infections amongst them, I wonder how many boats are actually getting through without detection? Similar problems in the Canaries.

    May I say that your regular postings from Spain are most agreeable. Watched a Portillo Spanish train trip yesterday which reminded me what a splendid and dignified country it is. How sad that travel there is now under largely otiose restriction.

  • nichomarnichomar Posts: 5,809

    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.

    If you look back through the membership records of Oxford colleges, the only time since 1800 or even earlier when the Clarendon Seven didn't supply a large chunk of the undergraduate population was a relatively brief period in the middle of the last century. Then exotic names such as West Bromwich GS, Maghull GS, and Goole GS became common in the rolls, whilst those of Winchester and Rugby and even Eton waned...

    That must have been just a coincidence though.
    gosh. whatever happened to these schools?
    We used to trash Maghull Grammar at rugby every year I don’t remember it as a place of academic excellence any more than ormskirk or KGV in Southport.
  • nichomarnichomar Posts: 5,809
    geoffw said:

    nichomar said:

    Definite change of attitude at local hospital today, only allowing patients in, no accompanying relatives, security on doors, oxygen points set up with scrubbers even in day clinic although not being used yet. There are at least four illegals who came in by boat yesterday in here infected with another 74 waiting in a tent to see if they develop symptoms. It’s the worst time of year for a resurgence given how concentrated holiday taking is. Another 15 boatloads of illegals were Escorted into Cartagena yesterday with several infections amongst them, I wonder how many boats are actually getting through without detection? Similar problems in the Canaries.

    May I say that your regular postings from Spain are most agreeable. Watched a Portillo Spanish train trip yesterday which reminded me what a splendid and dignified country it is. How sad that travel there is now under largely otiose restriction.

    Thank you, I try to offer a different perspective which being based here allows me to do.
  • IanB2IanB2 Posts: 27,168
    Fishing said:

    Something I don't know the answer to - does Eton send many more boys to Oxford than Cambridge? If so, that would imply that the reason for Oxford's dominance is, in part, because of Eton's dominance.

    Another point - the similar educational background at the top of the greasy pole is not really mirrored further down. Conservative MPs are from a more diverse educational background than PMs. And I would guess that Cabinet Minsters are somewhere between the two. If I'm right, that means that the advantages of Eton and Oxford become more pronounced the further up you climb. Is that because the public like their Tories to be from Eton and Oxford, given that media exposure increases as you climb? Or is it because that background helps with self-confidence, networking, backstabbing and all the other relevant skills to a political career? I don't know.

    Oxford does seem to churn out a lot more politicians than does Cambridge. I had always guessed this is because Oxford tends to be (or seen to be) stronger in the Arts, Classics, History and PPE and Cambridge in Maths, the Sciences and Geography. Graduates of the former tend to be more interested in politics.
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    Fishing said:

    An interesting table, but I think the really interesting questions about Oxford's dominance are, why and does it matter? On why, does Oxford take good students and form them in some way so that some of them become particularly ambitious for, and suited to, a political career? Or are intelligent 18-year-olds who want a political career most likely to choose Oxford? Or does having "Oxford" on your CV give you a particular advantage in UK politics?

    I’ll go for option 3.

    A few years ago, I was interviewing three candidates for a teaching post. I reported back to the director with a candid assessment of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

    One of them was at Oxford. I put him bottom of the three because he was a nice guy and obviously very bright but also muddled, inefficient and had no administrative experience.

    He got the job, and the director admitted it was because this candidate was at Oxford. He wanted the prestige of that degree as part of what he was offering.

    And until I left the following year, all his colleagues (and later his manager) commented ‘lovely guy. But...’ before detailing some cockup he had made through his lack of sense.

    So it does make a huge difference to future career prospects. Not necessarily because the graduates of Oxford are better, although I have no doubt many of them are but because they are guaranteed a hearing and people tend to see what they expect, not what is there.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 23,049
    Don't know if it will be any good (I still have fond memories of Jason Robards as President Richard 'Monckton' in Washington Behind Closed Doors), but the casting looks excellent:
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 37,085
    kinabalu said:

    Carnyx said:

    The dominance of Eton in Tory PMs is even greater when one remembers that PMs Thatcher and (possibly, in terms of admitting females to the sixth form at the time?) May were disqualified from Eton anyway by being girls.

    Stonking point. Thus of the last 7 eligible Tory PMs, FIVE (!) went to Eton. A scandal really when you stop to think about it. How on earth can this be?
    I see no scandal. It simply shows that Eton is a good school and should be encouraged to be as good as it can be so that the public sector can learn from it.
  • IanB2 said:

    In other exciting news, LibDem Leadership ballots land with members today and tomorrow......

    It has been interesting viewing some of the hustings on youtube how Ed and Layla's propositions have varied over time and the different emphasis given to particular audiences.

    A new report looking at the opportunities for the Lib Dems has just been published by the UK in a Changing World think tank https://ukandeu.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Lib-Dems-report-1.pdf.

    It shows, comparing the results in 2010 and 2019, that there are a number of consitutencies where the Lib Dems have improved and have better chances of winning the seat.


  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    nichomar said:

    kinabalu said:

    tlg86 said:

    kinabalu said:

    The influence of Eton is more concerning than that of Oxford Uni. Hopefully Johnson is the last of this dismal breed to realize their 'born to misrule' destiny.

    Yes, if there is a concern it's the school rather than the university. Now, what type of state school did Heath, Thatcher, Major and May go to...
    Exactly. We were making progress.

    If you look back through the membership records of Oxford colleges, the only time since 1800 or even earlier when the Clarendon Seven didn't supply a large chunk of the undergraduate population was a relatively brief period in the middle of the last century. Then exotic names such as West Bromwich GS, Maghull GS, and Goole GS became common in the rolls, whilst those of Winchester and Rugby and even Eton waned...

    That must have been just a coincidence though.
    gosh. whatever happened to these schools?
    We used to trash Maghull Grammar at rugby every year.
    That sounds quite violent even by the standards of rugby. That’s more what I would expect after a Milwall FC game.

    And despite the general destruction they kept inviting you back!
  • algarkirkalgarkirk Posts: 1,825
    kle4 said:

    kinabalu said:

    Carnyx said:

    The dominance of Eton in Tory PMs is even greater when one remembers that PMs Thatcher and (possibly, in terms of admitting females to the sixth form at the time?) May were disqualified from Eton anyway by being girls.

    Stonking point. Thus of the last 7 eligible Tory PMs, FIVE (!) went to Eton. A scandal really when you stop to think about it. How on earth can this be?
    Its striking and worrying but I dont know I'd call it a scandal. Whatever advantages may have helped them rise through the Tories the public always had a chance to say no if a duffer made it through.
    This is a good point. There is much more to becoming PM and winning elections than Eton and Oxford. You have to gain and keep the approval of local party, local voters, fellow MPs, the entire party membership, the national poll in GEs and you have to be not destroyed by the media. What is puzzling is why Oxford and Eton should have such an advantage over say Winchester and Cambridge or whatever.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 14,546
    ydoethur said:

    Fishing said:

    An interesting table, but I think the really interesting questions about Oxford's dominance are, why and does it matter? On why, does Oxford take good students and form them in some way so that some of them become particularly ambitious for, and suited to, a political career? Or are intelligent 18-year-olds who want a political career most likely to choose Oxford? Or does having "Oxford" on your CV give you a particular advantage in UK politics?

    I’ll go for option 3.

    A few years ago, I was interviewing three candidates for a teaching post. I reported back to the director with a candid assessment of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

    One of them was at Oxford. I put him bottom of the three because he was a nice guy and obviously very bright but also muddled, inefficient and had no administrative experience.

    He got the job, and the director admitted it was because this candidate was at Oxford. He wanted the prestige of that degree as part of what he was offering.

    And until I left the following year, all his colleagues (and later his manager) commented ‘lovely guy. But...’ before detailing some cockup he had made through his lack of sense.

    So it does make a huge difference to future career prospects. Not necessarily because the graduates of Oxford are better, although I have no doubt many of them are but because they are guaranteed a hearing and people tend to see what they expect, not what is there.
    At some point in the next decade I think it's likely that you won't be allowed to say what university you went to on a job application. This is how the civil service operates (though, they still allow specific degree titles to be given, so saying PPE does hint at where you went).
  • ydoethurydoethur Posts: 30,103
    edited July 30
    IanB2 said:

    Fishing said:

    Something I don't know the answer to - does Eton send many more boys to Oxford than Cambridge? If so, that would imply that the reason for Oxford's dominance is, in part, because of Eton's dominance.

    Another point - the similar educational background at the top of the greasy pole is not really mirrored further down. Conservative MPs are from a more diverse educational background than PMs. And I would guess that Cabinet Minsters are somewhere between the two. If I'm right, that means that the advantages of Eton and Oxford become more pronounced the further up you climb. Is that because the public like their Tories to be from Eton and Oxford, given that media exposure increases as you climb? Or is it because that background helps with self-confidence, networking, backstabbing and all the other relevant skills to a political career? I don't know.

    Oxford does seem to churn out a lot more politicians than does Cambridge. I had always guessed this is because Oxford tends to be (or seen to be) stronger in the Arts, Classics, History and PPE and Cambridge in Maths, the Sciences and Geography. Graduates of the former tend to be more interested in politics.
    Oxford is far weaker in History than Cambridge. It doesn’t have as many active high class researchers, and there is a definite lack of rigour in their assessments.

    Edit - among the careers departments at schools, Cambridge is regarded as better academically but Oxford is better socially. I think that may well be why there is a difference in the number of politicians. Politicians have to be able to get on with people. Policy wonks are the ones who sat in libraries.
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 23,049
    Covid-19 infections leave an impact on the heart, raising concerns about lasting damage
    https://www.statnews.com/2020/07/27/covid19-concerns-about-lasting-heart-damage/
    Two new studies from Germany paint a sobering picture of the toll that Covid-19 takes on the heart, raising the specter of long-term damage after people recover, even if their illness was not severe enough to require hospitalization.

    One study examined the cardiac MRIs of 100 people who had recovered from Covid-19 and compared them to heart images from 100 people who were similar but not infected with the virus. Their average age was 49 and two-thirds of the patients had recovered at home. More than two months later, infected patients were more likely to have troubling cardiac signs than people in the control group: 78 patients showed structural changes to their hearts, 76 had evidence of a biomarker signaling cardiac injury typically found after a heart attack, and 60 had signs of inflammation.

    These were relatively young, healthy patients who fell ill in the spring, Valentina Puntmann, who led the MRI study, pointed out in an interview. Many of them had just returned from ski vacations. None of them thought they had anything wrong with their hearts...
  • kinabalukinabalu Posts: 12,809
    kjh said:

    kinabalu said:

    nichomar said:

    kinabalu said:

    eek said:

    tlg86 said:

    ydoethur said:

    algarkirk said:

    Why are all the other public (i.e. private) schools so unsatisfactory that they can't rustle up a Tory PM between them?

    Am I right in thinking that the state comprehensive system (widely in place since about 1967) has yet to produce a PM?

    Gordon Brown was at Kirkcaldy High School.

    Theresa May’s school became a comp while she was there. However, she was probably still in a de facto legacy grammar school.
    Wiki says Brown was fast streamed, which doesn't sound especially comprehensive to me.
    It sounds like a decent comprehensive to me - I don't know of any comprehensive that wouldn't have (at the very least) streamed maths and english lessons. Especially in maths where the A-C grade paper was entirely different to the C-G grade paper.
    I went to a comp and we had streaming. What defines a comp is intake by catchment area rather than interview and exam.
    Also the absence of state selective education options, the moment you introduce a grammar school the comp effectively becomes a secondary modern
    Yes. Which is the problem. Streaming within schools - with flexibility through to at least age 15 - is very different to streaming between schools with a momentous pass/fail fork in the road at 11.
    I am so with you on this through personal experience. I failed my 11 plus (although have no memory of taking it. What is more I was streamed in the secondary modern in a class that would be expected to leave without qualifications and in hindsight that was a fair assessment.

    However I blossomed by the 3rd or 4th year. When taking the exams to decide whether you took O levels, CSEs or nothing I came top in the school in all subjects except English (in which I did OK).

    I went on to the local grammar school where I was fast tracked taking A levels early and went on to Manchester to do a degree in Mathematics.

    So what is the problem you may ask. Well because of the split at 11 I had no opportunity to do languages, English Literature, Music, etc, however I did useless stuff for me namely metalwork, woodwork, etc (I am useless at practical stuff). Equally when I went to the Grammar school there were boys there who had no option to do the practical stuff, but could study Russian, German, etc.

    Why oh why split at 11. Stream as you go along.
    So you escaped (sort of) but that was a close shave for you. I think I agree with @rkrkrk that the hankering to bring back grammars and the 11+ is not common amongst under 50s. I hope that's the case anyway. To me it seems an absurd and borderline cruel way to carry on, getting 11 year olds to sit a single formal exam with binary outcome, the serious consequences of which will be with them for life - a life that has at that point barely started.
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