Educational apartheid in the upper echelons of the law is not simply a matter of state versus private, it would appear. According to new research, state-educated applicants for graduate posts at top legal firms, banks and FTSE 100 companies are drawn almost exclusively from an elite group of secondary schools - the top 20 of which are nearly all in London or the south. Over 1,000 of Britain’s 3,400 state secondaries produce no applicants for top graduate jobs at all.

The research was carried out by Rare, a diversity recruitment specialist, using a contextual recruitment system which factors social mobility metrics into companies’ graduate recruitment databases.

The research found that:

* The 20 elite state schools providing most applications to tier-one graduate employers comprise 16 selective grammar schools and four comprehensive schools (see below);

* In some cases, even when comprehensive schools perform as well, or better, than those in the top 20, their students are still less likely to apply to top firms;

* Of the 20 elite state schools that produce the most applicants to top graduate schemes, 12 are in London.

Just 10% of Britain’s secondaries (including grammars) produce 53% of applicants to prestigious graduate schemes. Of that elite, just 1% account for 11% of all applicants to top firms. Some 34% of state secondaries produce no applicants.

The House of Commons Education Select Committee met this week for hearings on efforts to help young people entering the workplace.  Lucy Powell MP, select committee member, said: ’There is no excuse in this day and age for a system that creates preferential treatment to a minority of elite, well-connected schools. We need real careers advice to ensure opportunities are open to all.’

Lib Dem education spokesperson Layla Moran said: ’This is a very welcome report confirming that there are inherent inequalities in the state school system that must be urgently addressed.’


Top 20 State Schools and Top 20 Non-Selective State Schools

Top 20 State Schools(Non-selective state schools in italics)Top 20 Non-Selective State Schools 

1.The Henrietta Barnett School

1.The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School

2.Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet

2.Dame Alice Owen’s School

3.The Latymer School


4.Dartford Grammar School

4.Barking Abbey School, A Specialist Sports and Humanities College

5.The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe

5.The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School

6.The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School

6.The London Oratory School

7.Watford Grammar School for Girls

7.Seven Kings High School

8.King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford

8.Valentines High School

9.Colchester Royal Grammar School

9.Trinity Catholic High School

10.Townley Grammar School for Girls

10.Parmiter’s School

11.Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School

11.Coloma Convent Girls’ School

12.Dame Alice Owen’s School

12.Wymondham High School


13.Drayton Manor High School

14.The Tiffin Girls’ School

14.Roundwood Park School

15.Woodford County High School

15.The Beauchamp College

16.St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School

16.Kingsbury High School

17.Tiffin School

17.St George’s School

18.Ilford County High School

18.The John Henry Newman Catholic School

19.Kendrick School

19.Bishop Luffa Church of England School, Chichester

20.St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School

20.Harlington Upper School


Top 12 London State Schools



Top 12 London State Schools 
  1. The Henrietta Barnett School


2. Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet


3. The Latymer School


4. The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School

5. Townley Grammar School for Girls


6. JFS


7.The Tiffin Girls’ School


8. Woodford Country High School


9. St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School


10. Tiffin School


11. Ilford Country High School


12.St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School