WARRINGTON pupils are yet to exceed the reading and writing abilities that were seen pre-pandemic.

It is no secret that Covid-19 and countless lockdowns have detrimentally affected the education system, that is now playing catch up to get pupils back on track with attainment scores that were seen in 2019.

In key subjects such as English and Maths, recent Department for Education figures have shown that 67 per cent of 2,804 eligible pupils in Warrington met the expected standards in the year of 2022-23.

This remains lower than pre-pandemic levels, with the year 2018-19 seeing 73 per cent of pupils in the town had met the standards.

The Association of School and College Leaders said schools are working hard to improve results, but they are "hamstrung by the Government's inadequate education recovery programme".

Nationally, just 59 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths in 2022-23 – unchanged from 2021-22, but still well below 65 per cent in 2018-19.

The Government is aiming for 90 per cent of key stage two children to meet the expected standard in reading, writing and maths. No area in the country is above 75 per cent.

Tiffinie Harris, primary and data specialist at the ASCL, said the results clearly show schools are still feeling the pandemic's effect on education.

Ms Harris said: "Schools are doing everything they can to improve results but have been hamstrung by the Government’s inadequate education recovery programme following the pandemic.

"Primary schools are also suffering from a lack of funding, as well as teacher shortages that are having an impact across the education sector. It is very difficult to raise standards under these circumstances.

"Unless the Government is prepared to make substantial, ongoing investment in education, their target of 90 per cent of children achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and maths will not be achieved."

The figures also showed the gap between disadvantaged children and their classmates had shrunk, with the proportion of disadvantaged children reaching the expected attainment across key subjects rising slightly from 43 per cent to 44 per cent.

Meanwhile, special education needs pupils also saw a rise in their attainment, with 20 per cent reaching the expected standard – up from 18 per cent the year before.

The Department for Education said its ‘mission is to make sure every child has a world-class start in life’.

"It is great to see an increase in the proportion of disadvantaged pupils and those with SEN meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths," a spokesperson said.

"We have been relentlessly focused on closing the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, and we continue to fund our flagship National Tutoring Programme to help young people make up for time lost during the pandemic."