“The A-level statistics tell a grim story – the gap in top grades between the wealthiest and least wealthy regions of England has widened since 2019.
“We repeatedly warned the government that disadvantaged young people were worst affected by the pandemic and the government’s own education recovery commissioner Sir Kevan Collins resigned in protest at the government’s underinvestment in supporting these young people.
“The damage done by the pandemic has been exacerbated by soaring inflation which has put more pressure on disadvantaged families.
“The government must address this situation by ensuring that schools and colleges serving disadvantaged communities have the teachers and funding they need, and that there is more support available to assist families and children who are struggling with the cost of living.
“Educational outcomes are closely tied to levels of disadvantage and there has long been an attainment gap between rich and poor which now appears to be widening. We have to break out of this spiral of inequity.”