Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, is right ("To beat poverty, we need a richer response", Comment, 3 January). Ministers and England's chief inspector of schools Sir Michael Wilshaw place much of the blame for the educational performance of disadvantaged children on poverty of aspiration among teachers. But the most powerful cause is literal poverty: grinding, debilitating and soul-destroying as it is. Education secretary for England Michael Gove might not recognise its consequences in his Surrey Heath constituency but Sir Michael should have done so in the less favoured area of Hackney, East London, served by his former school Mossbourne Community Academy.
Colin Richards, Spark Bridge, Cumbria.