A programme designed to address the link between poverty and low academic achievement is to be introduced in struggling primary schools.
The project, run by the charity Teach First, will place up to 80 high-calibre new teachers in some of Britain's most deprived primary schools from September.
The charity recruits and trains top graduates to be teachers and sends them to schools where at least 50 per cent of pupils are from the poorest 30 per cent of families. Brett Wigdortz, the chief executive, said: "We've made working in a challenging school a prestigious job opportunity."
But Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Teach First do a reasonable job, but it is not our preferred method to go into teaching, particularly in primary schools. You need to know about child development and... undergraduate courses and the PGCE are better routes."