Children in the north of England are being left behind those in the south as they face a "double whammy of entrenched deprivation and poor schools", a study has found.
The report by the Children's Commissioner for England says pupils are less likely to do well in secondary school, more likely to go to a poor school and more likely to leave education early.
Anne Longfield's study found that a child on free school meals living in Hackney, London, was three times more likely to go to university than a similar child in Hartlepool, while London children on free school meals were 40% more likely to achieve a good maths and English GCSE grade than children in the North.
More than half of the schools serving the North's most deprived communities were below a "good" rating, the report added, as they endured the problems of weak leadership, poor governance and difficulties recruiting staff.
The commissioner has called on the Government's Northern Powerhouse project to give youngsters the same attention as economic regeneration, otherwise she warned its promise would not be fulfilled.
Mrs Longfield added: "While many children in the North are thriving, there are huge gaps between the poorest Northern kids and those in the South.
"Too many children in the North are facing the double whammy of entrenched deprivation and poor schools. They are being left behind.
Among the report's recommendations are improving the North's secondary schools in the most deprived areas as a "priority" with a renewed focus on teaching recruitment and leadership.
A Government spokesman said it was investing in schools in the north and in projects that improve pupils' chances from an early age.
He said: "As the Children's Commissioner notes, many children in the north are now thriving, but there is more to do.
"Our Northern Powerhouse programme includes £3.4 billion investment in projects to boost the local economy, £12 million to spread good teaching practice in English and improve early literacy, and schemes that help families to support their child's education at home."