On the map - Politicians' schooling

30th April 2010 at 01:00
Not many points up north

Politicians at Westminster direct policy for education across England. As education is a devolved activity, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for their own schooling, although most of the funding originates from taxation raised in London. For that reason, it is interesting to see where politicians on the front benches of each of the three main political parties were educated.

The Labour party had a distinct southern bias - with 13 of the 32 officeholders who were educated in the UK having been to schools in London or in the South East.

The only other area to come close was Scotland, where seven went to school. The traditional Labour heartlands of the North produced only three frontbenchers, two from Yorkshire and one from Merseyside.

By contrast, the Tories were educated mostly in the South East, where Eton dominates the list. This region accounted for schools educating nine of the 31 top Conservatives. Only the East of England, where six of the parties' spokespeople went to school, comes anywhere close.

As with Labour, no Tories went to school in Wales, and only three were educated in Scotland. The Lib Dems to some extent redress the balance, with three frontbenchers educated in Wales and five in the South West.

The party also had four educated in Scotland, meaning 14 key politicians were educated north of the border in a different system from the one on which they decide policy. Schools in London and the South East educated 32 of the nation's leaders, or about a third of the total. By contrast, only one politician went to school in the North East, and that was a Tory who did so on Teesside.

In all parties, the position is complicated by the fact that some politicians went to boarding school, meaning their education may have been in a different region from the one they regarded as home.

John Howson is director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.

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