This MP thinks you should discriminate against Eton pupils

This MP thinks you should discriminate against Eton pupils

A former education secretary has called on employers to discriminate against candidates who went to Eton as their grades are “not as impressive” as those achieved by candidates from struggling state schools.

At a meeting in New York, Conservative MP Justine Greening said that you should be using “contextual recruitment” to find the best candidates, the Times reports.

Eton is one of the most famous public schools in Britain and charges up to £12,910 per term for students to attend. Famous former pupils include Boris Johnson, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, David Cameron, the former Prime Minister, and the Princes William and Harry.

“Contextual recruitment basically says when you’re looking at someone’s grades who’s applied for a job . . . look at them in the context of the school they went to,” she said. “So if you get three Bs from Eton, you’re probably not as impressive as somebody who gets three Bs from the school in a part of the country where the school [wasn’t] doing well.” 

Employment Lawyer Charlotte Allery, a Solicitor at Coffin Mew, said that the discrimination wouldn’t be illegal, but more than simply the name of a school should be considered.

“It has been happening in reverse for many decades, with individuals often selected based upon the university they attended when pitted against similar candidates at lower ranked universities,” she explained. “I’m aware of city law firms who divide a waiting room of candidates, with one side of the room reserved solely for Oxbridge graduates and the other side for ‘any other’ graduates.

“[The] ‘Contextual recruitment’ that Justine Greening advocates is helpful, but it is important to bear in mind that school type or location is not always a pointer of socioeconomic status, given the offering of bursaries and sports scholarships. Ultimately, blanket bias against a particular school or type of institution certainly won’t work towards the real aim of any employer: finding the best candidate for the job.”

Photo credit: Evka W

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Comments (3)

  • DM
    Wed, 2 May 2018 3:43pm BST
    'Contextual recruitment' is something we all do anyway - recruitment is all about using the information that is available from the past/present to make the best prediction we can about likely future performance.

    If two candidates both claim to be responsible for 10% sales growth, we'll think about the conditions they achieved that under - the sector, the market conditions at the time, the territory they covered, whether they had strong marketing support or weak support etc - and then we'll try to work out how they are likely to perform in the job we are recruiting to with the support they will have.

    Exam results are just the same - to be an effective tool for predicting future performance you want to take into account the conditions that the scores were achieved under. If you two candidates have the same grades, but one had all the support money can buy and the other one didn't, it might be reasonable to expect that the one who received less support can achieve more once the right support is there for them. As with all recruitment, we have to take care not to over-interpret the limited data we have available, but this might be one of many indicators of future potential.
  • VC
    Wed, 2 May 2018 12:19pm BST
    As a former Teacher this is really annoying. Having worked in schools on 'both sides of the track' believe me when I say that Teachers in high attaining schools do NOT have it 'easier' than those in struggling state schools (as described in the article).

    The job that ALL Teachers do is vital to our country and the education of our children. Discriminating against anyone simply due to their background and schooling is incomprehensible! We're meant to be reducing this discrimination, not encouraging it!
  • ChrisJS26
    Wed, 2 May 2018 11:50am BST
    So it's fair that the person who was sent to Eton by his parents' choice is then discriminated against? Why is that any more fair than discriminating against someone with a different skin colour because of his parents?

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