Commenting on new research from Teacher Tapp published by Sutton Trust, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"This report is further evidence that pupils from more deprived backgrounds are being hit hardest by coronavirus. Boris Johnson is presiding over rapidly growing social divides. The report also makes abundantly clear that the Department for Education is paying no heed to the issues that are facing the most disadvantaged pupils, which teachers, support staff and school leaders have been highlighting throughout the pandemic. The roll-out of laptops was unforgivably slow, making remote learning harder for pupils, parents and teachers alike. The Prime Minister's tin ear when it came to an extension of free school meals at the height of the pandemic was a saddening indication that the Government may well talk loudly about how schools are vital, but actions are more important than words. They had no real strategy for schools during Covid-19 and continue to have an inadequate approach to education recovery.
"This is not a decisive Government. It must give schools the equipment they need to ensure proper ventilation in schools and colleges in an attempt to keep Covid-19 infection down. Every classroom that needs an air purifier should be supplied with one to ensure staff and pupils’ health and keep absences as low as possible. It simply isn’t good enough to rely on a workforce of retired teachers appearing from thin air.”