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4 in 10 children lack basic skills to start school

boy stressed with school

According to findings published by the Department of Education, 4 in 10 children aged five lack the basic skill sets required to start school and progress. More than 250,000 children are thought to struggle with education after reception, falling short of the ‘good levels of development’ required in writing, reading and physical skills.

To achieve ‘good’ levels of development, children must:

• Be attentive in class.

• Follow instructions.

• Use tenses correctly.

• Show good control and co-ordination.

• Dress independently.

• Use the toilet independently.

• Try new activities with confidence.

• Count to twenty.

• Take turns playing with other children.

• Know some behaviour is unacceptable.

Boys are failing the most

There are further concerns that the education system is failing your boys in particular as they fall behind girls in most subjects. Just 59% of boys can write a simple sentence or a letter to Santa Claus compared to 75% of girls. Regarding reading, 68% of boys can read a simple sentence compared to 80% of girls. The narrowest gap can be found in use of technologies, with 91% girl reaching ‘good’ levels compared to 89% of boys.

Childcare Minister’s thoughts

Childcare Minister Sam Gyimah said: ‘We know the first few years of a child’s life can be make or break in terms of how well they go on to do at school and beyond. The statistics published today clearly show that some progress is being made but more must be done to ensure children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are put on the right path.start school

‘Parents need to be confident that while their children are out of their care, they’re not only safe, happy and having fun but at the same time developing important skills like playing confidently with their friends, speaking and understanding words, letters and numbers. The Government has provided new funding through the Early Years Pupil Premium and strengthened qualifications to raise standards. It’s now up to those who support our children to ensure they get the start in life they deserve – something parents and I both want to see.’

Cuddling and speaking with our children

Last month, the University College London’s Institute of Health Equity suggested that too many children are being affected by parents who don’t cuddle or hold conversations with them often enough. They went on to say that Britain has some of the worst development rates in the entire Western world.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, director of the institute, said: ‘Of course, some children will do better than others because it’s in their genes or things of that nature but we know the quality of parenting is crucial. We know input from parents or other carers on talking to children or reading to children, playing with children, singing with children and warmth – emotion, cuddling, loving – are all vital to children’s development.’

Improvement in areas

On the figures released, Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, stated: ‘We are extremely disappointed that the minister has used these results, which show a marked improvement in outcomes across all areas of development, to direct unfair criticism at the early years sector.

‘Childcare professionals continue to do remarkable work in the face of inadequate funding and extremely limited practical support. Recent sector initiatives rolled-out by the Department for Education – such as the early years pupil premium – while positive in theory, will do little to address these challenges in practice, largely because the government refuses to acknowledge the severity of the current problem.’



About Siobhan Harmer

About Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan Harmer is an English Freelance writer who drinks far too much coffee!!

Website: Siobhan Harmer

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