Class more of a disadvantage than race?
It's a common perception that the UK is a classbound society, but I'm quite perplexed about the arguments flying around today. I'll agree that race is less of a barrier to success than it was between the 1950s and the 1980s. However, class is much less clear-cut.
One the one hand, I'm working class and I grew up in a working class area in a house which was fairly low-waged in comparison to most. Mining was the best money around and the main industry. My dad wasn't allowed to be a miner after having TB as a teenager and his factory wages were lower. None of this stopped me from doing well at school and getting a degree afterwards. Granted I wouldn't have chosen teaching as a career if I'd known my health was going to fold within 10 years, but as things have panned out I have a fairly interesting job and I fit in a bit of lecturing on the side.
On the other hand, we have some filled with street after street of people living on benefits where kids are feral and roam in packs. Is it a disadvantage to grow up somewhere like that? Yes, it probably is. However, it's not because the children don't have access to schooling, qualified teachers and books or would be refused grants for higher education. It's not because no employer will take someone from that part of town. It's sadder than that. The barrier comes from within. The child is so conditioned to live in his environment that very few have the aspiration to want out. How you solve that I don't know.