Tony Blair yesterday pledged to persevere with plans to reform secondary schools, no matter how great the opposition he faces from Labour backbenchers.
The Prime Minister insisted the Education Bill due to be published next week would get rid of an unfair system which is currently holding back pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Reforms such as academies and specialist schools had produced "real and significant improvements" and the creation of trust schools would raise standards further, he said.
The trust school proposals have sparked unease among up to 100 Labour backbenchers, as well as senior party figures including former leader Lord Kinnock and exeducation secretary Baroness Morris, the former MP for Birmingham Yardley.
Speaking at his regular monthly press conference in 10 Downing Street, Mr Blair said the education reforms were part of a wide-ranging programme designed to deliver improvements on education, health, welfare, pensions, law and order and energy.
He said: "On education, what matters is that the reforms lift standards, make good schools excellent, average schools good and for those that are failing, give them a new lease of life.
"Our aim is not to establish a two-tier system but, on the contrary, to get rid of it, to help children, especially from the most disadvantaged back-grounds, to overcome their disadvantage and do well.
"It is why, however difficult, we shall continue and persevere with the reform, and hopefully succeed."
Mr Blair insisted that there was still "a lot to do and a lot to get done" in his premiership.
"On education, all I'm saying to my own Members of Parliament who may be worried about the education reforms is if your worry is that it's an attempt by the back door to bring back selection, we've dealt with that. If your worry is about local authorities, we've dealt with that, but the essential freedoms of schools is a necessary part of lifting standards in schools and helping particularly the most disadvantaged kids to get a decent break in life."
The proposals have been inspired partly by the success of Thomas Telford School in Telford, Shropshire which, like the new trust schools, is an independent school funded by the state.
The Prime Minister predicted he would get sufficient backing from his backbenchers to get his education reforms though.
"I am hopeful we will get the vast majority of Labour MPs behind us. In fact, I am absolutely sure we will get the vast majority," he said.
"The question is whether we manage to get enough to get it through with Labour votes alone."
The real issue, he insisted, was "doing the right thing for the country".
Backbenchers who have expressed concern about the proposals include Richard Burden (Lab Northfield), Lynne Jones (Lab Selly Oak) and Clare Short (Lab Ladywood).
The Department for Education has said the Bill will be published before the end of February - effectively next Monday or Tuesday.
It will pave the way for the creation of independent trust schools within the state sector and give private companies, faith groups and parents new powers to set up and run schools.