Head teachers fear many vulnerable children will never “come back” to school, with up to eight million pupils set to be at home for six months, MPs have been told.

The children’s commissioner also warned that 700,000 children do not have a laptop or tablet for home learning – putting them at stark risk of falling behind their peers.

Anne Longfield said school leaders feared the numbers staying away will grow with “more distractions” in the summer months, with primaries set to stay shut for some year groups.

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“They stay up worrying if those children will ever come back, because the leap that will need to get them back in school will be so vast,” she told the Commons education committee.

Ms Longfield also warned ministers had only a “two-week window” to organise the summer schools she says are desperately needed to help struggling pupils catch up on missed learning.

“That’s a real urgent to-do list for everyone who has the power to make it happen,” she added.

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