Disadvantaged seven and eight year-old pupils were nine months behind their peers in reading skills and eight months behind in maths, according to new research into how the pandemic has affected the attainment gap.

The gap has widened since before the pandemic and has remained at a similar level since spring 2021, research by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) said.

Their research followed 6,000 pupils who were in reception and year one – aged four to six – in March 2020 until the spring term of 2022.

On average, they found that pupils who were in year three in spring this year have caught up in both reading and maths compared with pupils before the pandemic.

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