Department of Education representatives have met with Frank Field MP to discuss the findings of Mr Field's report 'Foundation Years, preventing poor children becoming poor adults'.
The meeting served as an opportunity for officials to brief Mr Field on the work being done in the north to break the link between social disadvantage and educational underachievement.
Education Minister John O'Dowd said: ''Since my appointment as Education Minister I have made clear my aim of tackling the inequalities in the education system. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the link between free school meal entitlement and educational under-achievement and while educational outcomes are improving, the gap in attainment remains. Indeed the Programme for Government specifically challenges me to improve the educational outcomes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
"I also recognise the importance of the early years in a child's development and that is why I recently announced additional funding for this area.
"Today's meeting proved a useful opportunity not only to brief Mr Field on the work being done here, but for us to listen to the challenges being faced in Britain and how they are being tackled. I believe there is much we can learn from each other in the fight to ensure every child, regardless of background, has the opportunity to fulfil their potential from poverty."