BRADFORD children's reading, writing and maths abilities are worse than before the coronavirus pandemic, new figures show.
It comes as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on pupils' development across England, with attainment in key subjects remaining significantly worse than before three successive lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
The latest Department for Education figures show 57 per cent of 8,015 eligible pupils in Bradford met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths in key stage two in the 2022-23 school year.
This was in line with the year before, but remained below pre-pandemic levels – in 2018-19, 63 per cent met the expected standard.
Tom Bright, Bradford branch secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), highlighted the effects of Covid and the lack of funding in schools.
He said: "A lot of it will be due to children's lack of resilience when it came to Covid.
"It was three years ago but those children have fallen behind."
Mr Bright added: "Schools have been cutting staff which affects the children.
"Schools are saying we need a teacher in every classroom but we can't afford the support staff.
"It is heartbreaking to be in schools where that is happening."
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 aims 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.
The figures also show the gap between disadvantaged children and their classmates shrunk, with the proportion of disadvantaged children reaching the expected attainment across reading, writing and maths 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."