Pupils could each lose at least £16,000 in future earnings due to missed lessons during the pandemic, rising to £46,000 in a worst-case scenario if the Government fails to intervene, a report suggests.

Significant additional spending is needed to help pupils recover from lost learning in order to avoid long-term damage to their life chances, according to the Education Policy Institute (EPI) think tank.

The Prime Minister’s levelling up agenda is “under serious threat” from large pupil learning losses found in parts of the north of England and the Midlands, the think tank suggests.

The analysis estimates that learning losses could lead to lost lifetime earnings of at least £16,000 per pupil, but it could range from £8,000 to £46,000 per pupil depending on the extent of learning loss.

These earnings losses would generate a total long-run cost of between £78 billion and £463 billion across the 10 million children in the education system in England, the report suggests.

Researchers say there are several risks to the delivery of the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) – the Government’s flagship programme for helping pupils to catch up with pandemic learning loss.

Schools can access subsidised tutoring from an approved list of providers known as tuition partners under the scheme.

But the report says there are regional disparities in the NTP’s reach, with the take-up of the tuition partners element of the programme in the north of England far lower than the south.

The Government should make sure the scheme can be accessed in “hard-to-reach” areas in parts of the North and in coastal areas, it adds.

Ahead of the spending review, the think tank has reiterated its calls for a three-year funding package of £13.5 billion in England to reverse the damage done by Covid-19 to pupils’ education.

So far the Government has allocated £3.1bn for education recovery to help pupils catch up.

England’s Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza and leaders of a number of children’s charities are also calling on the Government to put children’s needs at the heart of the recovery amid the pandemic.

Their letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak says: “We want to see the Government take leadership and guarantee meaningful, multi-year investment to support children’s futures.

“We want this investment to have a particular focus on the needs of the most disadvantaged children, who have been most impacted by the pandemic.”

Luke Sibieta, co-author and research fellow at EPI, said: “The level of lost learning seen by pupils in England is considerable.

“Left unaddressed, our modelling shows that these losses may have adverse consequences for millions of pupils, negatively affecting their lifetime earnings. In total, this could cost the Government hundreds of billions in national income.

“We need to see more ambitious efforts to repair the damage done by the pandemic to pupils’ learning.”

Natalie Perera, chief executive of EPI, added: “Pupils in parts of the north of England and the Midlands are facing learning losses that are greater than those in other regions.

“Current education recovery support for young people, including the Government’s National Tutoring Programme, is yet to address these disparities – leaving the Prime Minister’s levelling up agenda under serious threat.”

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “This report presents a grim picture of the substantial learning loss suffered by young people during the course of the coronavirus pandemic and is a clarion call to the Government that a substantial education recovery fund is required at next week’s spending review.”

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, added: “Building a new tutoring profession will take effort. It requires a plan and sustained funding.

“Without it, the tutoring revolution risks coming to a screeching halt.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “We have committed to an ambitious, long-term education recovery plan which will deliver world-class training for thousands of teachers and high-quality tutoring for millions of pupils.

“We are significantly expanding the National Tutoring Programme this year, building on the progress from last year when more than 300,000 children benefited, and giving schools more flexibility to deliver tutoring that works for them and their families.

“This investment in education recovery – of over £3 billion to date – comes on top of the £14.4 billion this Government is investing in schools in total over the three years up to 2022-23, helping young people leave school better educated, better skilled and ready for the world of work.”