Flourishing old-boys network is still helping private pupils

Posted: 10th October 2022

Privately educated pupils are far more likely to know bankers, politicians and lawyers because of flourishing old boy and girl networks.

Research shows state school pupils are twice as likely to have no professional to support them when compared with a child at an independent school.

Those at fee-charging schools are seven times more likely than their state school peers to know a banker or politician and four times more likely to know a lawyer.

The research from Zero Gravity, a social mobility tech platform, reveals that access to a professional network is a strong predictor of a pupil’s likelihood to apply to and win a place at elite universities. It intends to repeat its Gap Zero report annually.

The report says that a private education helps ease the path to leading universities, but it is “not necessarily the better facilities and low staff-to-student ratio that achieves this”.

It continues: “Rather, the main benefit of a private education is the associated spheres of influence and support that these networks facilitate.”

Privately educated pupils were found to be nearly twice as likely to report having been encouraged to apply to a Russell Group university as their state-educated peers.

They are also markedly more likely to believe family friends had the experience to help with their applications. They are twice as likely to know a doctor and more than twice as likely to know an accountant.

A state school pupil is as likely to know no one who went to Oxbridge as a private school pupil is likely to know more than nine.

State school pupils are more worried about feeling out of place at a Russell Group university and more likely to fear that they would not keep up.

Joe Seddon, founder of Zero Gravity, said: “Our research highlights a widely accepted, but rarely spoken-about, truth: that who you know often matters more than what you know.

“With nearly half of state-educated pupils unable to name a single Russell Group university compared to just one in six students at private schools, we’re faced with a situation where both universities and businesses are missing out on the next generation of talent.”

Source: Flourishing old-boys network is still helping private pupils | News | The Times

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