Among the panel of six experts is the former principal of Longtower Primary in Derry, Kathleen O’Hare.
Said Mr Middleton: “Since becoming elected, I have consistently called for measures to be put in place to address educational underachievement, including the long-standing issues facing working-class, Protestant boys.
“The panel announced today will examine the links between educational underachievement and social disadvantage.
“I welcome the intention of the panel to ensure that an action plan and final report will be completed by May 2021.
“Every child in Northern Ireland, regardless of their community background, deserves a real chance in life.
“From birth, some children will face significantly greater obstacles which need to be overcome before they are in a position to realise their full potential.
“Currently some manage to overcome these barriers and others do not.
“I look forward to engaging with the panel in the coming weeks and I would urge as many organisations and individuals to engage as and when possible.”