Low-ability youngsters from wealthy families go on to earn more money than their more gifted, poorer counterparts, says the Education Secretary Justine Greening.
Fairer outcomes remained an “entrenched” problem, she said, at an event promoting social mobility.
Too many pupils fail to reach their potential, said Ms Greening.
Making the most of all young people’s talent was a “hard, cold, economic imperative,” she said.
“Children from high-income backgrounds who show signs of low academic ability at age five, are 35% more likely to become high earners than their poorer peers who show early signs of high ability,” Ms Greening told a Social Mobility Commission event.
Ms Greening said giving a fairer opportunity to all pupils remained a “really hard long slog”.
In her own family, she said she was the first to go to university.
And the education secretary said that she had never planned to be a politician – and could remember her father shouting at …