Commenting on the IPPR report The New Normal: The future of education after Covid-19, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

"Many schools and colleges have gone above and beyond to support their pupils through access to specialist support, providing wellbeing calls and access to food.  

'However, schools simply do not have the resources they need to do this work effectively over the long run.

'Cuts to real terms school funding have dramatically reduced the specialist support schools can provide. In school after school, this has meant cuts to onsite counsellors, as well pastoral support provided by teachers and support staff.  

'This report worryingly shows a post-code lottery in provision and that the pupils most in need of support, cannot access it.

'The NEU supports the call that all children should have access to on-site mental health support, including on-site counsellors and interventions to support parental support programmes.   This requires extra funding. School and colleges will also need much more flexibility in the curriculum to support the complex socio-emotional needs of children and young people.  This cannot be education as normal.    

'We will not be able to prepare children for life unless we have a broad, rich and inclusive curriculum and an end to the exam factory system.  It is important, therefore, that statutory testing in primary schools is cancelled and that secondary examinations are adapted to respond to students needs in a period of unprecedented interruption. League tables should be suspended for 2021, as they were for 2020, as they place unnecessary pressure on education staff and restrictions on the curriculum and the time available for the necessary pastoral care.”