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Last Updated: Wednesday September 09 2009 06:30 GMT

Obama's back to school message

Obama tells pupils: 'America's future depends on you'

American President Barack Obama has made a speech encouraging children to work hard in school and never give up, but not everyone's happy about it.

Speaking at Wakefield High School in Virginia, Obama told pupils across the country that their country's future depended on their success.

The speech was broadcast to schools across the country on cable TV.

But some parents refused to let their kids watch as critics accused Obama of trying to influence pupils politically.

Some critics claimed the speech was less about promoting education and more about persuading children to support him.

American President Barack Obama

During his speech, Obama told pupils that as well as teachers, parents and the government, they were responsible for their own success at school.

"No matter what you want to do with your life - I guarantee you'll need an education to do it," he said.

"Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book."

'Not easy'

But he also warned that being successful was hard, and used Harry Potter author JK Rowling as an example of someone who'd had to overcome failures before finding success.

"No-one's born being good at things," he said.