Four in five of children in need in Oxfordshire failed to meet the expected standard in writing, reading and maths last year, new figures show.

Across England, looked-after children, pupils in care and those with a child protection order performed worse compared to all pupils in the 2022-23 academic year.

School leaders’ union the NAHT said the disadvantage gap will continue to have a harmful impact on vulnerable children’s life chances unless the Government invests in services supporting schools.

Department for Education figures show 32 of 169 children in need in key stage two in Oxfordshire met the required standard for reading, writing and maths in 2022-23 – the equivalent of (19 per cent).

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of all pupils in Oxfordshire met the standard.

Across England, 30 per cent of vulnerable children were up to the requirements for reading, writing and maths compared to an average of 60 per cent of all children.

The figures for all pupils include the number of children considered in need as well.

While the gap remained the same since 2018-19, both groups had a worse performance. Before the pandemic, 35 per cent of children in need made the grade, while 65 per cent of all pupils did.

Pepe Di’Iasio, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Children in social care have often gone through hell and unfortunately this trauma can understandably impact on their educational progress as well as their social and emotional wellbeing.

“Schools work hard to support them in all respects, but they are having to do so without enough funding, staff or specialist support. In addition, social care departments are also under huge pressure.”

The figures also show 45 per cent of key stage two children in need in Oxfordshire reached the expected standard for reading, 38 per cent for writing and 35 per cent for maths.

For all pupils, 74 per cent met the reading standard, with 71 per cent in writing and 73 per cent in maths.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “The Government clearly hasn’t done nearly enough to support children’s recovery from the pandemic, and it is depressing that this has further harmed those children who need help the most.

He said while teachers do their best to support pupils, they are not equipped to tackle the root causes of poverty.

“The disadvantage gap will continue to have a pernicious impact on children’s life chances, especially the most vulnerable, and it will only begin to close when the Government properly invests in those services that support schools’ social care, family support and mental health services,” Mr Whiteman added.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want to make sure that children from all over the country, regardless of background, have the same opportunities to succeed and attain the highest levels.

“We have made almost £5 billion available since 2020 for education recovery initiatives, including high quality tutoring for the children who need the most support.

"We are also supporting disadvantaged pupils through the pupil premium, which is rising to almost £2.9 billion in 2024-25, the highest in cash terms since this funding began.”