The school admissions code in England is to be changed to make it easier for families escaping domestic abuse to switch schools, says the Education Secretary Damian Hinds.
He wants vulnerable children to get a school place "as quickly as possible".
Mr Hinds says more needs to be done for 1.6 million children who have needed support from social workers.
But the children's commissioner Anne Longfield warned of political "paralysis" in delivering such changes.
In a speech on tackling disadvantage at the Reform think tank, Mr Hinds highlighted that there was no "simplistic" stereotype about who was likely to underachieve in school.
White British pupils were among the lowest achievers, while those who spoke English as a second language were likely to get above-average results.
Mr Hinds showed the scale of the success of disadvantaged pupils in London, who were twice as likely to get into top universities than their counterparts in other parts of England.
Young people in big cities were more likely to get good results - while those in coastal areas were particularly likely to underachieve. He called for attention for 1.6 million children who were not in care, but who were classified as being "children in need" and whose families had been supported by social workers during the past three years.
These pupils had high levels of absenteeism and exclusion, and were likely to get much lower exam grades.
"We need to improve the visibility of this group, both in schools and in the system as a whole," said Mr Hinds.