Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We are extremely concerned that the pandemic has hit pupils in very different ways, with some much more able to continue their learning than others. It is, of course, the pupils who we were most concerned about before the pandemic who seem to have had the worst of it during lockdown.
“But we should remember that the ‘disadvantage gap’ existed long before the pandemic. Lockdown has brought the gap into focus, and may well have widened it for some young people, but it did not create it. We can’t assume that a return to ‘normal’ will cause the gap to close. New measures need to be in place if we are to make a real difference.
“Unfortunately schools were already struggling to provide everything children need before this crisis, damaged as they and other social services have been by a decade of austerity. If schools are to play their part in healing the scars left by covid-19, be that educational, developmental or emotional, they must be given the additional support, funding and resources they need to do so.”
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