Speaking at a book launch on school under-achievement, Michael Gove said: “There is a real problem of ambition in certain traditional communities, like East Durham, which needs to change.”
He blamed the long-established ruling Labour Party for contributing towards there being “no choice” in aspirations.
Labour leaders hit back, saying the area’s schools are high achievers and that millions of pounds have been invested in education, despite the Coalition government withdrawing the Building Schools for the Future scheme.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has sparked anger after he said you can walk into an East Durham school and “smell the sense of defeatism”. Labour leaders are “outraged” at the Government minister’s “insult” that brands local schools as having a lack of ambition.