Universities are being urged to give disadvantaged students who narrowly miss their required A-level grades “additional consideration” after research laid bare the disruptive impact of Covid in the run-up to exams.

One in five A-level students (21%) who applied to university missed more than 20 days of school this year due to Covid disruption, while a third have missed 11 days or more, according to research by the Sutton Trust educational charity.

Amid concern that the most disadvantaged have been hit the hardest, almost three-quarters of teachers (72%) were worried that the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged will increase. Almost half (45%) of the 4,000 teachers polled thought the adjustments to exams designed to mitigate the impact did not go far enough.

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