Education & Family

'More Rio medal winners were state-school educated'

Laura Trott and Jason Kenny Image copyright PA
Image caption Cycling gold medallists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott both went to comprehensive schools

The proportion of Team GB medal winners who were state-school educated has grown since London 2012, says an education charity.

Just under a third (32%) of Team GB's medal winners went to private school, down from 36% four years ago, suggests analysis by the Sutton Trust.

The new generation of state-educated athletes is challenging private school dominance, says the charity.

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl described the findings as "fantastic".

The Sutton Trust, which campaigns to increase social mobility through education, analysed the school background both of medal winners and Team GB members overall.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mo Farah took gold in the men's 5,000m and 10,000m

Fewer than a third of the 130 Team GB medallists at the Rio Olympics attended fee-paying schools.

While the 13 most successful Olympians - those who won multiple medals at Rio - were more likely to come from state schools, says the charity.

  • Jason Kenny, who took three cycling golds, went to comprehensive school in Bolton
  • Max Whitlock, with two gymnastic golds and a bronze went to comprehensive school in Hertfordshire
  • Mo Farah, with golds in both the 5,000m and 10,000m was at state school in West London
  • Laura Trott, with two cycling golds was at a Hertfordshire comprehensive school
  • Charlotte Dujardin, winner of gold and team silver in dressage attended a Bedfordshire comprehensive.

But this still means that compared with the general population, Team GB members are still four times more likely to have been privately educated, says the charity.

For the team as a whole, whether medal winners or not, the numbers privately educated rose from 20% in 2012 to 28% this year.

And when it comes to rowing and hockey the proportion of privately educated players is 52% and 50% respectively, says the charity.

Eton winners

It points out that an old Etonian has won a medal for team GB every year since 1992.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption London 2012 team eventing silver medallist William Fox-Pitt went to Eton

These include Matthew Pinsent in rowing in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 and William Fox-Pitt in equestrian eventing in 2008 and 2012, as well as Constantine Louloudis with a rowing bronze in London and gold in Rio.

The charity says a growing trend for partnerships between state and private schools has helped boost the prospects of athletes like swimming gold medallist Adam Peaty who attended state school but used training facilities at Repton public school.

'National triumph'

Sir Peter Lampl described the success of Team GB in Rio as "a national triumph".

"It's been fantastic to see a growing number of our national heroes coming from comprehensive and other state schools," said Sir Peter.

"But alumni of private schools are still over-represented among our medallists.

"Although some state schools have improved support for competitive sport over the last decade, they're still more likely to benefit from ample time set aside for sport, excellent sporting facilities and highly qualified coaches."