The plan angered parents' leaders who claimed ministers' time would be better used reducing class sizes and ensuring improved standards in the schools on their doorstep.
Ministers will use a White Paper on education to be published next week to promote more social mobility in choice of schools.
"We want to see how we can get parents living on the council estates to be able to exercise choice in as powerful a way as those from more privileged backgrounds currently do," Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, told a conference in London yesterday.
Plans being studied by ministers include offering transport subsidies to those who cannot afford to send their children to better performing schools. Advisers will visit council estates to offer advice on the range of schooling available.
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