Commenting on the data, Louis Hodge, Associate Director for School System and Performance at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said:

“The data published today paints a worrying picture for social mobility in England. Overall attainment has stagnated, remaining well below pre-pandemic levels, and some of the country’s most vulnerable children continue to be considerably behind their peers.”

“According to the government’s own data, the disadvantage gap has closed slightly since last year, but it is still around the same level as it was in 2012. Although the immediate disruption of the pandemic has passed, this illustrates the lasting impacts it had on younger cohorts of primary-school pupils. The widening of the gap is not only a result of the pandemic. The disadvantage gap for primary-school pupils was already widening in 2019 and we can see that the pandemic has exacerbated the gap further.”

“Whilst there have been some small improvements in maths and writing since last year, results are still below pre-pandemic levels. In reading, results are similar to those in 2019. This is in line with our own findings that learning loss caused by the pandemic has been less prevalent in reading than maths for primary-school pupils”

“London remains the region with the highest percent of pupils reaching the expected standard across all subjects (reading, writing and maths). Concerningly, the gap has also continued to widen between London and other regions of the country since the start of the pandemic, apart from parts of the Midlands.”