School povertyAn “invisible minority” of pupils in suburbs, market towns and seaside resorts are being left behind by schools, Oftsed chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw will warn in a speech today.

He claims that there has been a big improvement in the education in city-based schools, but that “Many of the disadvantaged children performing least well in school can be found in leafy suburbs, market towns or seaside resorts.”

These pupils are often spread thinly across relatively affluent areas and coast through schools until the earliest opportunity to leave.

To tackle the problem he has proposed the introduction of a new team of ‘National Service Teachers’. These teachers will be employed centrally by government and would teach in schools in parts of the country that are failing their most disadvantaged pupils. He will also call for regional versions of the London Challenge, which is credited for turning around the fortunes of many London schools in the 2000s, and a concerted drive to cut the gap in attainment between rich and poor pupils.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Sir Michael Wilshaw said: “Where the problems now are, [they are in] good schools [and] outstanding schools in county areas, with small proportions of poor children that are doing extremely badly.”

In a statement issued to The Telegraph, the government said: “We will consider Ofsted’s recommendations and respond in due course.”