Leading British actors are more than twice as likely to have attended private school than stars in the music industry, a study has found.
It also reveals that the UK is still overwhelmingly run by privately-educated Oxbridge graduates, who dominate professions including politics, journalism, the military and the law.
The Sutton Trust, which published the research, said the findings show that a child’s chances of reaching the top in British life still depend heavily on their schooling and their family’s contacts and called for more to be done to open up fee-paying schools to all youngsters, rather than just those whose parents can afford to pay.
Researchers looked at the educational backgrounds of more than 1,200 people, working in high-level jobs in medicine, the law, the military, journalism, politics, the civil service, business, film and pop music, as well as Nobel Prize winners.
It found that more than two in five (42 per cent) of British Bafta winners went to an independent school, compared to around a fifth (19 per cent) of those who have won a Brit music award.
In addition, two-thirds (67 per cent) of British Oscar winners were privately educated – such as Eddie Redmayne, a former Eton pupil, and Kate Winslet, who studied at Redroofs Theatre School.
The state-funded Brit School in Croydon, which counts Adele and Jessie J among its former pupils, may be one reason why the proportion of state-educated top music stars is higher, the Sutton Trust said.
The study also found that three-quarters (74 per cent) of the UK’s top judges went to a fee-paying school, and nearly eight in ten (78 per cent) of them went on to Oxford or Cambridge.
Among top military personnel, seven in ten (71 per cent) came from the private sector, although just 14 per cent were Oxbridge educated, while around half of leading print journalists and solicitors were taught at fee-paying schools.
Just over half of these journalists then attended Oxford or Cambridge.