David Cameron is to underline the importance of ambition in the education system and the "intolerance of failure" in a speech on Friday.
His comments follow on from Nick Clegg's address on Monday in which the Lib Dem leader ruled out profit for free schools.
The prime minister is expected to signal a return to competition and "excellence" in schools, in an attempt to put the UK in line with emerging world powers such as China and India. He will also attempt to quell growing concerns about the coalition's disparity over the education sector.
"A free school is born of a real passion for education – a belief in its power to change lives. It’s a passion and a belief this coalition shares. We want to want to create an education system based on real excellence, with a complete intolerance of failure," he is expected to say.
"Any complacency now would be fatal for our prosperity. And we’ve got to be ambitious too if we want to mend our broken society. Because education doesn’t just give people the tools to make a good living – it gives them the character to live a good life, to be good citizens.
"So for the future of our economy, and our society, we need a first-class education for every child."
Cameron will outline three "bold" moves to raise standards, change the structure of schools through giving institutions greater independence and "confront educational failure” head-on.