THE white working class are becoming ever more marginalised?

There is an uncomfortable truth about how the education system disadvantages white working-class boys outside of London.

Research published by think tanks such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concluded that they are being left behind in an education system that puts too much focus on raising standards in London.

A couple of weeks ago, head teachers in the North West came out endorsing that view suggesting that the current system that ranks schools, Progress 8, is hurting children in deprived areas who do not speak English as a second language - in other words, people who only speak English.

Generally, these areas are in the North and the most successful schools in the rankings are found within London boroughs.

While civil servants defended the status quo, this should be a wakeup call for politicians across the North representing places where school attainment is lagging behind big cities and London.

Educational disadvantage extends into working life opportunities.

Some say the problem is down to aspiration.

The argument goes that those children whose parents immigrated to this country have the drive to succeed that they pass on - and - the post-industrial towns are insular and do not foster an atmosphere of success that other big cities might possess. I reject that argument.I do not believe for one minute that the parents of white working class boys do not have hopes for their success. They do.

So what can be done about raising the attainment and aspirations of white working-class boys?

First and foremost we have to stop blaming the white working class for all societies ills. Stop relegating the white working class or demeaning them as, for example, racists.

It does start in schools and in the education system. It does end with greater political representation. Extra support and spending are needed for the schools where their poor GCSE results have locked-in a generation of, particularly men to a potential life of poor skills and low-wage work.

Just as crucially, there needs to be a world for these young men to enter that wishes to give them an opportunity based on their ability and motivation.

Small towns in the North desperately need their own investment to resist the pull of the major cities - not the other way around. Furthermore, routes to higher education need to be suggested to those with the potential to apply earlier on.

If we are going to talk about positive discrimination then we must listen to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and others calling for a fresh perspective on the struggles of the white working class.