Commenting on new researched published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), and carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research, which looks at reading and maths assessments taken by more than 10,000 Key Stage 1 pupils from autumn 2020 through spring and summer 2021, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"This report adds to a mountain of evidence that Covid-19 worsened educational inequalities. The attainment gap between Key Stage 1 children receiving free school meals and their peer was significant even before the pandemic; now it has widened further. The report rightly says that the gap 'will require specific targeted and continued input to support the learning [of disadvantaged children] in their next years of schooling'. But this is a challenge which government has not yet met. Cuts to education spending have hit the most deprived schools hardest. Recovery funding has fallen far short of what is needed. As the report recognises, schools have brought great energy to the work of recovery - but, without adequate government support, the road ahead is going to be difficult."