The comments made by Michael Gove, the then Secretary of State for Education, on 26 July 2010.
Schools should be engines of social mobility. They should provide the knowledge, and the tools, to enable talented young people to overcome accidents of birth and an inheritance of disadvantage in order to enjoy greater opportunities.
Children from poorer backgrounds, who are currently doing less well at school, are falling further and further behind in the qualifications race every year – and that in turn means that they are effectively condemned to ever poorer employment prospects, narrower social and cultural horizons, less by way of resources to invest in their own children – and thus a cycle of disadvantage and inequality is made worse with every year that passes. Last year of the 80,000 pupils who had been on free school meals just 45 made it to Oxbridge. Just 2 out of 57 countries now have a wider attainment gap between the highest and lowest achieving pupils.
This is not good enough and addressing this disparity is a top priority of the coalition government. It is for this reason that we are implementing a pupil premium, to ensure that extra funding is targeted at those deprived pupils that most need it.