Poverty is being used as an excuse for failure by white working-class families, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw argued in an interview to The Times (£).
Sir Wilshaw was commenting on a government report into extending school hours for poorer children, where extended school hours would give children somewhere to do their homework.
He said: "It's not about income or poverty. Where families believe in education they do well. If they love their children they should support them in schools."
The performance of every child "will be captured" under a new system being brought in by the Government, meaning youngsters who are struggling will have any academic progress they make recorded, according to an MP.
Chair of the education select committee Graham Stuart told Good Morning Britain the Government was adopting a number of measures designed to help pupils from poorer backgrounds.
"What we know is that children from poor homes are particularly sensitive to the quality of teaching they get, perhaps because they don't have the resilience of their better off peers for parenting or other reasons."
The right school can make "a significant difference" in turning the education of poor youngsters, the head of a cross-party committee of MPs has said.
Education select committee chairman Graham Stuart said:
We don't know how much of the under-performance is due to poor attitudes to school, a lack of work ethic or weak parenting.
What is certain is that great schools make a significant difference in turning poor children's education around.
The problem of poor, white British under-attainment is real and the gap between those children and their better-off class mates starts in their earliest school years and then widens as they get older.
However, we also know that the effect of attending an outstanding school is transformational for poor children because it doubles their chance of success at GCSE.
Just under a third (32%) of white British children from poor backgrounds got at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths last year, according to a report.
- However, 61.5% of poor children from an Indian background walked away with the same GCSE results.
- While 76.8% of poor children from a Chinese background achieved the same marks.
- The gap in results between poor white children and their richer classmates has hardly changed in the last seven years, the report said.
- While the attainment of poor children from other ethnic backgrounds is improving faster than that of poor white children.
Extended school days could help to boost poorer pupils' grades because it would give them somewhere to do their homework, a cross-party group of MPs has said.
The Commons Education Select Committee wants new guidance for teachers on how best to extend the school day so youngsters from deprived families can have a better chance of succeeding at school.
The proposal was put forward in a report on the challenges facing white working class children at school, which found they had fewer evenings in which to do homework and missed more days in class than any other ethnic groups.
In the past children who left school without decent exam results would have spent their working life doing routine manual work in factories, now they are more likely to end up as "Neet" (not in education, employment or training), it added.
The report said: "Poor white children in rural and coastal areas have been 'unseen' for too long; unless such steps are taken, the potential of white working-class children will be left unlocked, and the effects of the current trend will continue to be felt beyond the school gates."
Education Secretary Michael Gove is attempting to use a campaign to fight school illiteracy "to distract from his failure to respond to warnings," on risks of extremism in Birmingham schools - Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary has said.
Tristram Hunt MP was referring to a report that two Birmingham schools run by the same educational trust were criticised by Ofsted, for apparently failing to protect pupils from the risks of extremism.
Education secretary Michael Gove has told the Policy Exchange Think Tank that he wants competitiveness within schools between pupils, using a "rank order system."
Telling the Policy Exchange, he believes that creating a rank order for students to follow - pupils will strive to improve.
Gove said the model is "to replace the harmful competitiveness of street culture, the contest over who is coolest, who's trainers are smartest, who's attitude is the hardest, who's backchat is the most fly - with the competitiveness of academic culture."
'Rescuing next generation ..driving moral purpose' of govt reforms, Michael Gove's defiant message to educ conf
Gove insists won't be 'deflected' by opposition to his reforms. Academies and free schools 'more accountable' he claims.
Educ Sec admits however some academy chains expanded too fast
Parents of unruly children in the classroom will face higher punishments for failing to ensure their children turn up to school "ready to learn," Michael Gove has warned.
The Education Secretary vowed against what he believes is a culture of low expectations in the classroom and lack of respect to teachers, vowing to drive up school standards "higher than ever before."
In a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank he said:
"We will, later this year, be outlining detailed proposals to ensure parents play their full part in guaranteeing good behaviour and outlining stronger sanctions for those who don't."
Mr Gove is expected to lay out his promise to end illiteracy in a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank today, the Times newspaper has said.
He will say: "Critically, we need to ensure that all children leave primary school fully literate and numerate.