Sir,

The FT is right to highlight the grim opportunities our education system has afforded poor children for too long. The pupil premium, free schools, the English Baccalaureate and improvements to the quality and training of new teachers will all help address the problems that your analysis has uncovered. However, your editorial 'The scandal of England’s schools' (27 April 2011) is wrong to suggest that we have abandoned a more interventionist approach to underperforming schools. In fact, the opposite is true.

The Academies Act of 2010 gave us more power to insist that underperforming schools become academies. Michael Gove, the education secretary, has subsequently written to all local authorities asking for their improvement plans for underperforming schools. We are currently looking at those plans and will be ready to turn schools, including primaries, into academies if required.

We expect more sponsored academies to open in the next academic year than have opened in any previous year. In addition, outstanding schools that become academies are expected to support other local schools to improve. So far, more than 800 schools are benefiting from this extra support – another step towards tackling the segregated system this government inherited.

Jonathan Hill

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools