The Department for Education had no plan for dealing with a pandemic and failed to set standards for remote learning during lockdown, leading to “unequal experiences” for many children, according to a critical report by MPs.

Parliament’s public accounts committee also said there was evidence that the government’s £1.7bn catch-up programme – designed to restore the learning lost during school closures – may not be connecting with many of the most disadvantaged children. The committee’s report describes the DfE as having “worthy aspirations but little specific detail”.

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