The sharp achievement gap between state and private school-educated pupils means there is a "shocking waste of potential", according to the chairman of educational charity the Sutton Trust.
Sir Peter Lampl's remarks come in the foreword to a new report that shows private school pupils will earn significantly more than their state school peers.
"This is a shocking waste of potential. This report clearly sets out the advantages that can be gained from a good private education," Sir Peter writes.
The Sutton Trust is calling for more independent schools to take on able pupils from less well-off backgrounds.
The charity suggests private schools should get the same funding per pupil as state schools, with the ability to charges fees on a means-tested basis, with the poorest paying nothing.
Their study suggests extending such a scheme to 100 leading private schools would cost the Government about £215 million a year.
Children educated at private school are likely to earn almost £200,000 more over the course of their career than their counterparts in the state system, new research suggests.
A study by the Social Market Foundation found that between the ages of 26 and 42 a privately educated person will earn approximately £193,700 more on average than someone who went to state school.
The difference means an average private school pupil will earn 43% more than their state school peers by the age of 34, although this falls slightly to 34% by the aged of 42.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has responded to today's wages and unemployment figures by saying: "Throughout the economic crisis, and now in the recovery, our labour market has shown itself to be resilient and flexible".
"People are feeling the benefits of recovery. We now need to focus on increasing job security and confidence.
"This is why I am addressing issues such as zero-hours contracts and restoring the real value of the national minimum wage.
"Together with the tax and benefits changes we have made, this will mean more money in people's pockets at the end of each month."
Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, has responded to wages rising above the rate of inflation this morning’s by saying:
“At long last earnings are finally rising faster than CPI inflation when bonuses are included, but after four years when prices have risen faster than wages there is a huge amount of lost ground to catch up."
"Working people are now over £1600 a year worse off than when David Cameron came to office, most people are not feeling any recovery and the link between the wealth of the nation and family finances remains broken".
Minister for Employment Esther McVey has praised the news of average earnings rising above the rate of inflation for the first time in six years.
She said: "More young people are in work, more women are in work, wages are going up, and more and more businesses are hiring - and it's a credit to them that Britain is working again."
The unemployment rate was 6.9%, down from 7.1% for September to November 2013 and from 7.9% for a year earlier.
Unemployment fell by 77,000 between December and February to 2.24 million, official figures showed today.
The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance last month also fell by 30,400 to 1.14 million, said the Office for National Statistics.
Average earnings increased by 1.7% in the year to February, above the CPI inflation rate of 1.6%.
The increase in earnings will be the first time in six years that the average wage has risen above the consumer price index (CPI), which stands at 1.6% for 2014.