Angelina Jolie has warned that millions children around the world ''may never set foot in a classroom again'' with an intervention.

The 'Maleficent' actress - who is a special envoy for UNHCR, the United Nations' refugee agency - wants youngsters to ensure they are still given access to education amid the coronavirus pandemic, after reports showed around 1.5 billion kids across the globe are not currently in school, compared to around 260 million prior to the global health crisis.

And Angelina stressed the importance of schools, not just for educational purposes.

She said: '''For millions of children and youth, schools are a lifeline of opportunity as well as a shield. Classrooms offer protection - or at least a reprieve - from violence, exploitation and other difficult circumstances.

''Without urgent practical assistance, some of the children left without schooling worldwide due to the coronavirus may never set foot in a classroom again. We must find ways to try to ensure access to continuity of education for young people across the world.

''Ensuring education for refugee children is something we can make happen, if we all come together.''

Angelina's message came after the UK government pledged more than £5.3 million in aid to the UNHCR to protect the education of refugee children.

Baroness Sugg, the UK's special envoy for girls' education, insisted education should be prioritised in the recovery efforts from the virus.

She said: ''Supporting every child's right to 12 years of quality education is one of the best investments the UK can make to end the cycle of displacement, poverty and conflict, as we recover from coronavirus. We urge our partners to match our ambition.''

The news also follows a report from Save the Children who warned of the ''hidden education emergency'' facing the world's poorest children, with almost 10 million unlikely to return to school when the pandemic eases.

The report found 12 countries in particular - Niger, Mali, Chad, Liberia, Afghanistan, Guinea, Mauritania, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and the Ivory Coast - are at ''extreme risk'' of children's educations being damaged.

The report said: ''Whilst there's no way of accurately predicting where and how many children may drop out of school, this index provides us with analysis of where this risk may be highest based on the education situation before the pandemic hit.

''We know that children living in poverty and girls are two groups particularly at risk of dropping out of school, and so countries that already had large equity gaps may require extra support in order to ensure that these gaps do not widen.''