Commenting on an analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research showing the number of additional children forecasted to be in poverty by the end of 2020, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"It is deeply alarming that in an already parlous situation, this report forecasts that an enormous number of children will be thrown into poverty by Christmas. This is in addition to the 4.2 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2018-19, which equals nine children in every class of 30.
"Politicians from across the political spectrum have been speaking out about the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on children living in poverty. However, many of those same politicians voted for and supported policies which have made matters worse.
"Schools know only too well the impact this has on the children and young people they teach. Members report to us about children who are tired, hungry and badly clothed. But schools alone cannot solve this problem. 40% of the educational attainment gap that poor children are burdened with is created before they even start school.
"Government must come clean about the reality, which is that the disruption caused by Coronavirus for disadvantaged children cannot be recovered through booster classes. Wales and Scotland have national plans to develop proper programmes of learning because of Covid-19, but the Westminster Government is behind on a national response on curriculum flexibility and blended learning.
"At the start of this crisis the Government said it would do whatever it takes to see the UK through the current crisis. For the sake of the 200,000 children expected to be in poverty by the end of the year - and the millions already in poverty before the crisis struck - the Government needs to step up to the plate and make ending child poverty a priority."