“[Children] will grow up in circumstances so chaotic that it’s not just a case that they are neglected, it is the case that they are actively harmed by the failure to be in a nurturing environment where their brain can develop and where they can learn the sorts of habits which allow them to not just succeed academically at school but are effectively socialised.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20043225)
It is heartening that Michael Gove acknowledges the state of affairs that some children arrive in primary education greatly disadvantaged to their peers. It is strange that he should imagine that turning a primary school into an academy should resolve this situation. At our school, the children who arrive in an advantaged position do well and those who arrive with such a disadvantage do less well. This is what we need to address but changing our school identity will not simply resolve this.
It is interesting that Michael Gove believes that education and the state can change the situation of some children but there are those within his department who root the causes in genetics (link). When you connect these opinions to the recent comments from Boris Johnson (link) one might be forgiven for thinking that there is some confusion within the government about the causes and solutions to underachievement in schools.