(TELEGRAPH) — Teachers are encouraging many children to believe that top exam grades, places at elite universities and professional careers are all beyond them, an education minister has said.

David Laws attacked the “depressingly low expectations” that he said are holding back children in many parts of the country and preventing them from getting ahead in life.

Even in relatively affluent parts of the country, schools and careers advisers are failing to encourage children to “reach for the stars,” instead pushing them to settle for middling exam results and careers with “medium-ranked” local employers, he said.

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