Poor children who are struggling with the three Rs at the age of seven are unlikely to catch up.
A new report by Save the Children entitled Too Young To Fail highlights how people in teaching jobs face an uphill task if youngsters do not improve their reading, writing and arithmetic skills from an early age.
The study also found that over one-fifth of school kids are behind at seven years old and this group only has a one-in-six chance of getting five GCSEs at grade C or higher.
On top of this, nearly 80 per cent of the difference in GCSE results between rich and poor children has been determined by this stage.
Save the Children's chief executive Justin Forsyth said: "Many children starting school this term already have the odds stacked against them."
He added these youngsters are paying for the fact they have been born into a world of "slow growth, stagnant wages and increasing living costs".
Posted by Theo Foulds