Why has Eton produced so many Prime Ministers?by Denise Vincent
David Cameron is the nineteenth British Prime Minister to come out of Eton, an impressive percentage of the UK’s seventy three Prime Ministers so far. With five of the current cabinet also being Eton old boys, what is it about this school in particular and independent schools in general that makes them producers of Britain’s leaders? Britain’s private schools consistently produce pupils who have the highest expectations of themselves and are extremely likely to get to the top of their chosen profession. Take a look at Wikipedia’s list of Old Etonians, born in the 20th century alone and you’ll find an impressive collection from George Orwell and Ian Fleming, to well-known sporting heroes and a wide range of crowned princes, kings and other Heads of State from around the world.
The UK is a world leader in educating the world’s leaders. One in ten countries has a Prime Minister or Head of State who has been educated at some stage in the UK, from Australian Prime-Minister Tony Abbott to the controversial Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the British Council has found that the UK is 10 times more likely to produce a world leader than the USA .
Feeling entitled to those high paid jobs and top positions in society seems to be instilled in private school pupils. It can’t be ignored that almost half the cabinet have been educated in an independent school. With specialist teachers, a wealth of extra-curricular activities, superior facilities and small class sizes offered by independent schools, pupils have a chance of being recognised for their talents and are encouraged and expected to develop their unique skills whatever they may be.
As well as more than half the cabinet, one third of Britain’s 2012 Olympic athletes, the majority of the UK’s top surgeons, academics, scientists and engineers, in addition to a disproportionate number of our highest achieving actors, musicians and sportspeople, are from the seven percent of the countries independently educated pupils.
There is perhaps something to be said for schools that do not have to strictly adhere to government imposed curriculums and tests. Independent schools are free to teach pupils how to think, rather than what to think; preparing them for life in the higher echelons of society.
Whatever the reason, more children from the UK’s independent schools will end up in a position of wealth, influence and power, so it is possible that paying for an independent education could well be a wise investment if you want to help your son or daughter reach the very top of which ever profession they choose – especially if they fancy having a go at running a country.