It’s an extraordinary indictment of the UK that no person has ever been Prime Minister who received their entire secondary education in a comprehensive school.

Just think about that; the schools that educate the vast majority of young people have never provided a head of the Westminster administration.

Instead, we have a Prime Minister who went to an expensive private school (albeit on a scholarship), and his predecessor but one (David Cameron) also went to that same school. Until the election of Edward Heath in 1970, all Tory Prime Ministers were ex-public schoolboys.

My own party doesn’t have the best record either. Jeremy Corbyn went to a private school, as did Tony Blair.

The great reforming Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, not only went to a private school but had a great affection for his alma mater. Whilst it is true that there have been Prime Ministers from state schools, none yet has come from a comprehensive, with one exception, Theresa May.

I first met Theresa May just after she became Prime Minister. At that time, only two heads of government in the UK had been comprehensively educated. I was the first and Nicola Sturgeon the second.

Theresa had started in a grammar school which then became comprehensive, and I welcomed her to the club. She asked me which club I was referring to. I responded by saying it was the “comprehensive club” given her educational background. She looked quite startled when I said this, and I had the impression that I had insulted her in some way.

When I was twenty-one, I went to London to study to become a barrister. There could not have been a greater culture shock for the grandson, nephew and great nephew of miners.

I’d graduated from Aberystwyth, which was full of people from the same background as me, but London was very different.

As part of the qualification process, we had to eat dinners at our “Inn”, a kind of college. This was a formal event involving Latin grace, the wearing of gowns and the drinking of port, something I’d never come across before. I was lucky that Mid Glamorgan County Council paid all the fees.

It was noticeable that the percentage of private school ex-pupils was far higher than the population as a whole, and many of them became good friends, but I also learned that they weren’t better than we were; they simply had more confidence, were more used to this kind of world and had been coached well throughout their school careers.

I’ve never understood private education. Why pay for something that’s equally available for free? I’m not hostile to those who make that choice, nor to those who’ve been through that system but I just don’t get it.

I’ve spoken at events at private schools and would do so in the future, but I would never have sent my children to them. Regardless of my politics, I would never have seen the point.

Let’s also be honest as well and recognise that with some honourable exceptions, many of these institutions in Wales are hostile to the Welsh language, preferring instead to pretend that they’re in England.

I’m particularly perplexed at the choice some parents make to have children but then send them away to a boarding school at the first opportunity.

What I object to is the way that private schools are able to dominate the professions despite being such a small part of the education sector.

Fee paying schools are not meritocratic. By and large, children don’t get into them because they’re clever, they get into them because their parents can afford to pay the fees.

They are no doubt given a lot of time by teachers and are coached to do well at interviews. Not long ago, they benefitted from a system designed to help them into the Oxbridge colleges that relied on exams that their schools trained them for. This didn’t usually happen in the state sector.

They still have an advantage through the interview system.

As one Head of House at an Oxford College once put it to me; it’s easier to see the promise of somebody from a private school who’s been coached to go through an interview, it’s harder to see it in another, equally capable candidate from a tough background who has never had that chance.

It’s not hard to see who has the advantage.

The answer doesn’t lie though in vilifying the parents who are financially able to make choices, rather it lies in relentless improvement of both standards and expectations in the state sector.

I always used to say to school students that it didn’t matter where they were from or who their parents were or how much they earned and that they should never accept that they couldn’t succeed simply because of those factors.

My view would be close to that of the late Tony Crosland. Make sure state education is so good that there is no need for fee-paying schools beyond the demands people place on themselves through snobbery.

In Wales, private education is already a minuscule part of the sector.  Until this is achieved throughout Britain then we will fail to utilise the talent of our young people, we’ll fail to become a proper meritocracy and worse, we will reinforce the perception that you don’t succeed through talent but because of the money your parents had.