Privileged BBC EXPOSED: How third of BBC's big earners went to private school

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    Overall around just seven percent of people attend a private school for their education, but at the BBC many times this level are found in the top jobs.

    The BBC statistics also show more private school educated people among the BBC’s elite employees earning more than £150,000-per-year.

    The data shows that people who attended fee-paying schools make up 11 percent of the BBC’s employees who earn less than £30,000, but represent 28 percent of those at the corporation on more than £150,000.

    At the top of the BBC newsroom the bias is even greater with 31percent of the senior leaders in the news and current affairs department having been educated at private schools.

    Across the whole of the Corporation 57 percent of the total 12,000-strong workforce attended non-selective comprehensive-style schools with 1,942 having private school backgrounds.

    The BBC’s new head of news Fran Unsworth, who earns £340,000-per-year attended a fee-paying school in Staffordshire, while Laura Kuenssberg, the corporation’s £250,000 political editor went to a private school near Glasgow.

    Other well known BBC news faces that were privately educated are World Affairs Editor John Simpson, Security Correspondent Frank Gardner, Arts Editor Will Gompertz, Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell and Radio 4 broadcasters Nick Robinson and Justin Webb.

    The revelation of a private-school bias at the broadcaster comes after claims from presenter Steph McGovern in 2018 where she said a manager told her she was “too common” to be an BBC anchor. 

    She said there was a class pay gap at the BBC and that she would have been paid more money if she had come from a more privileged background.

    In an interview she said: “What the BBC doesn’t do enough of is thinking about getting people from more working-class backgrounds. It’s just posh.” She has since left the BBC to join Channel 4.

    Sir Peter Lampl, founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust: “Journalism has a social mobility problem – our research has highlighted that 43% of leading editors and broadcasters attended an independent school, compared to just 7% of the population.

    “Unpaid internships are often a way into journalism and make the industry very difficult to access for young people from low and moderate-income backgrounds.

    “Many of these placements are concentrated in London.  The high cost of living makes these opportunities unaffordable. Our research shows that the cost of an unpaid internship in London is £1,100 a month which excludes the majority of young people.

    “It’s welcome that some organisations – including the BBC – have recognised the importance of diversity and are doing something about it. However, there is more to do to get the best talent into journalism, whatever their background.”

    A BBC spokesperson said: “More than eight out of ten of our workforce were educated in state schools, as were three-quarters of our leaders. 

    “All aspects of diversity and inclusion are important to the BBC which is why we were the first broadcaster to collect and publish socio-economic diversity. 

    “We are currently the only media organisation listed in Social Mobility Foundation index of top 75 UK employers for the third year running.

    “Last year’s Sutton Trust ‘Elitist Britain’ report identified the BBC as being more socially inclusive than other parts of the news media, including newspaper columnists, recognising the active steps we have taken to improve socio-economic diversity and our progress in this area.”



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