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Headteachers: children becoming less prepared for primary school

11/09/2017 Joanna

A report has called for steps to be taken to ensure children beginning primary school are better prepared to commence formal schooling.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Family and Childcare Trust have conducted a survey showing that 86 per cent of school leaders are concerned that children's school readiness is worse than it was five years ago, with almost one-quarter saying that more than half their intake was not ready for school.

Communication skills and physical development issues emerged among the top concerns in this respect, with speech, language and communication problems identified as a cause for worry by 97 per cent of respondents.

When asked about why these issues may be emerging, 67 per cent said more needs to be done to identify and support youngsters with additional needs early enough, while 66 per cent said it may be to do with parents lacking the resources necessary to prepare their children for the start of primary school.

As such, the report urged decision-makers to offer greater local health and early years educational support to families, in order to make sure that potentially vulnerable young children are not beginning their education at a disadvantage.

Ellen Broome, chief executive of the Family and Childcare Trust, said: "There is strong evidence that early education can help to boost children's outcomes and narrows the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers - but only if it is high-quality.

"The government must make sure that every child can access high-quality early education and that parents can get the right support to help them to give their children the best start in life."

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